According to SeaTemperature.info, the average water temperature off Seward, Alaska, in January is 40.6 degrees Fahrenheit. (The average temperature off Miami is 72.) The annual Seward Polar Bear Jump-off Festival hosts numerous community events around a group jump into Resurrection Bay to raise money for cancer research, as teams have been doing – many in costume – since 1986.
Local American Legion Post 5 played a role in the 2024 festival that it has played since 1986. According to commander Clare Sullivan, the post hosted two steak nights, a breakfast, turkey bowling and a karaoke fundraising night. A post member crafted the karaoke trophy in the shape of Alaska with a Post 5 coin inset.
As for the main event, Post 5 did not jump together, but members participated with other teams as well as Legionnaires from around the state. Sullivan commented, “We often get members of other posts coming down when Seward has events. Alaska really is a small town on a big map!”