Polar Bear Jump Off (January 21)
The History of the Jump off
The first Seward Polar Bear Jump was held in 1986. Individuals dressed in costumes jumped into Resurrection Bay. Sponsors were acquired by the jumpers in order to raise money for the Alaska Division of the American Cancer Society. The event was so popular that buses were provided for a Anchorage-Seward-Anchorage trip on the day of the jump, with advance tickets selling out. Today, crowds continue to flock to Seward on the third Friday of January for a full weekend of fun.
Tustumena 200 (January 28)
So begins our trip into Tustumena 200 history…
1984-1994: The Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race had its’ humble beginnings as a beer run into the hills. Founded by Dean Osmar, a local musher and 1984 Iditarod champion, the T200 started as just a bunch of guys using their sleds and dog power to get them to a secluded location so they could party without any interruptions.
Or so the story goes…
Dean Osmar tells a different story. He originally started the race for local mushers; more specifically for his son, Tim, a 4 time Jr. Iditarod champion, to acquire the 500 race miles needed to compete in the Iditarod.
1994: The race was officially reorganized by the T200 Sled Dog Race Association. Headed by Suzie Cook, part owner of the Tustumena Lodge, and Evy Gebhardt, wife of local musher, Paul Gebhardt, the race would see phenomenal growth in the next half decade.
Peninsula Winter Games (January 28 – January 29)
Be sure to attend the most exciting of winter festivals, right here in Soldotna! The Peninsula Winter Games is jam-packed with family-friendly activities and attractions, including: Games, Fireworks, Food and More!
Homer Winter King Salmon Derby (March 17)
Anglers from all over Alaska come to fight for that winning salmon in this one day fishing extravaganza. The average year sees over 900 serious fishermen participating in this event, with our peak so far reaching 1072 anglers! Last year there were 248 boats participating in this GREAT day of FUN, with the overwhelming participation of so may businesses and anglers.
A special part of the tournament is the merchandise prize give-away that takes place every five minutes over the vhf radio. Every angler in the tournament is automatically entered into this random drawing. Anglers look forward to the sound of the ship’s bell on the radio which alerts them to the next drawing, giving many anglers their five minutes of fame; It means you don’t even have to catch a fish in this tournament to win a prize!
Gray Whale Migration Celebration (Late March – Early May)
The California Gray Whales embark each year on a 5,000-migration from Mexico’s Baja coast to their feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi seas. Get an up close view of these mammoth travelers as they pass Resurrection Bay.
The newly pregnant females lead the way, often arriving in late March. The males and juveniles follow, with the mothers with new calves bringing up the rear as late as early May. The males can reach up to 46 feet long and weigh up to 40 tons! Even the calves are large – around 19 feet long and 3,000 pounds.
From late March until early May, visitors can cheer them along on their journey from the comfort of Seward-based sightseeing cruises.