I Can't Wait For The Winterfest Boat Parade

The Hard Rock Cafe sponsored Winterfest boat parade through Fort Lauderdale is a major event held every December. But the event offers more than just a boat parade, with boats clad and dressed in sparkling lights and adorned with festive figures traveling a 12-mile water trail through the city displaying their cheer to onlookers.

Winterfest History
Winterfest first set sail in 1961, but it took 20 years before organizers of the event would create an official committee and file for IRS nonprofit status. This allowed the organization to expand and include official sponsors to help raise funds and extend the list of events considerably. The event is now televised and serves as a major economic boost to the city since tons of tourists and out-of-towners make plans to attend.

Winterfest Events
The official kick off beings with the Black Tie Ball at the Hollywood Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Then, people are invited to the shoreline to decorate it in festive garb, an event captured by local television stations.
 
Avid parade fans can get in line to buy seats in the grandstand 48 hours before the parade begins. These seats promise interactive family fun and the best views on the river. VIP seats at the Riverside Hotel allow viewers to mingle with community leaders and dignitaries at the start of the parade route. Judges and TV personalities can be found here.

Winterfest Acclaim
The Winterfest boat parade is a favorite event for Floridians as well as those who travel to the Sunshine State. In fact, the Festival and Events Association has named the parade one of the top 20 in the world -- an outstanding honor considering there are more than 50,000 parades annually in the United States! Winterfest has also been added to Reader's Digest magazine’s “100 Best in America” list.
 

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