Winterfest Boat Parade

What will you be doing this year for the holidays? The holiday season is a time to spend with family, exchange gifts, and go to holiday office parties. This year you won't want to miss out on festive holiday lights and decking the halls either. The answer, the 46th annual Winterfest Boat Parade 2017 has it all! Elaborate holiday light displays on hundreds of vessels brightly embarks their lights in competition in the seventh largest spectator event in the U.S. is brought to you be The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The night will transform the beautiful Intracoastal Waterways in Fort Lauderdale with decorated private boats, showboats, mega yachts, music, entertainment, celebrities, musical groups, and beauty queens into the Greatest Show on H2O.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year because The Winterfest Boat Parade brings together Greater Fort Lauderdale’s community and visitors from around the world. In the early days, The Winterfest Boat Parade had grown from an informal event in the 1970s and 1980’s to a mega-parade. Community leaders decided to build upon the popularity of the Boat Parade and create a non-profit organization that would make possible all of its surrounding events into a world-class community extravaganza. Ina Lee was the founder of Winterfest, and served as its chairperson for its first six years. Under her leadership Winterfest became a nationally recognized festival which was featured on the Today Show and Entertainment Tonight.

 Today the Winterfest Boat Parade earns the spot in the top 20 parades in the world and is one of the most celebrated winter events in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Winterfest Boat Festival manages to out-do itself each year with a chosen theme and a grand marshal. The World’s Most Watched Boat Parade has many notable past grand marshals such as Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa, Shaquille O'Neal, Deborah Norville, and Nick Cannon. This year’s theme is “Broadway on Parade” with Big and Rich as the Grand Marshal and celebrity Captain Lee (Bravo’s Below Deck).

Winterfest has a variety of contests for everyone to say “Thank You”. The first contest is Jr. Captain. The nominations are of children between the ages of 7-16 that best represents the services of nonprofit organizations in Broward County. Each nominee will receive a ticket to be part of Winterfest aboard on the Santa Showboat. Fantasy Boat Student Art Contest for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students in all Broward County Schools are offered to participate. The 2017 Winterfest Deco Drive Getaway Sweepstakes Contest (Must be 21 years old and a resident of Florida to enter) you enter to register to win a dream vacation to the exclusive Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Cancun Resort in Mexico, including two round trip airline tickets from Spirit Airlines. The final contest Winterfest does is The People’s Choice Award 2017 to vote on your favorite boat. There will be one random winner that will win two round trip Spirit Airline Tickets! Visit for more details.        


The Greatest Show on H20 embarks the 12-mile route on December 9th at 6:30pm and takes approximately 2 and ½ hours to view from one location. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale is the only Grandstand area organized by Winterfest, tickets are $25; all seats are reserved and assigned. Other viewing areas included are bridges, The Riverside Hotel, Downtowner Saloon and other various restaurants and bars along the route.

See you at the parade! 

Be the first to review this item!

Bookmark this

08 Nov 2017

By Carissa Sadler