Winterfest to Light the Waterways this Holiday for 50th Anniversary


Published Oct 20, 2021 10:32 AM by The Maritime Executive

The 2021 Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest® Boat Parade announced the organization will be celebrating its’ 50th anniversary on Saturday, December 11, 2021. The holiday signature event of South Florida will provide a night of lights, music, and fun for locals, tourists, and everyone else, whether young in age or young at heart.  The much-anticipated, ultimate block-party promises a magical night as participants light up the waterways from Downtown Fort Lauderdale to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach. 

The theme of this year’s Parade is a play on words of the organization’s anniversary, with a nod to the Parade’s title sponsor, “50 Years of Hard Rockin’ Fun ... Winterfest 2021,” encouraging boaters to decorate using a spectrum of iconic musical memories from the 1970s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, 2010s till today.  

Winterfest® has been a beloved holiday tradition since 1971 when it first sailed as an organized event through the beautiful waterways that have given Fort Lauderdale the nickname “the Venice of America.” The Parade not only serves as a showcase for national and local businesses who have been participants and partners, but also individuals, families, and groups that decorate their boats in lights to become a star on a floating stage for their community. 

This time-honored tradition brings more than 1 million spectators along the natural backdrop of Fort Lauderdale’s New River, Intracoastal Waterways and Lake Santa Barbara area in Pompano Beach.  Parade organizers are asking the community to share their favorite Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest® Boat Parade memories from throughout the years for their website’s timeline by uploading photos and/or submitting a story online at https://winterfestparade.com/timeline-submission or email to [email protected]

“It’s been incredible to see the community come together to help keep our annual traditional alive and make this year’s Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest® Boat Parade one to remember,” said Lisa Scott-Founds, Winterfest®, Inc.’s President and CEO. “We are looking forward to having the largest number of private entry submissions. Boaters are excited to get planning and showcase their creative decorating talents. Last year, so many had to put aside moments of celebration, from graduates that didn’t get to walk the stage, to brides who couldn’t walk down the aisle,” continued Mrs. Scott-Founds. “We want the Parade to be a moment for families and our community to celebrate together, whether they’re watching online from home, applauding from their balconies, or being cheered on while sailing through the Parade themselves.”

Visit the timeline section of the Winterfest website to see all the celebrities and additional milestones.

The 2021 in-person lineup includes: 

Gray Robinson, P.A. Winterfest® White Hot Launch Party 
Date: Oct. 23, 7-10 p.m.
Location: Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, 3030 Holiday Dr., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Cost: An invitation is included with the purchase of a sponsorship. 
Description: The White Hot Launch Party, hosted by Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, will begin with the Robinson Jewelers Golden Grand Entrance and feature delights from featured restaurant, Casa Calabria, and other top chefs’ choices from restaurants such as Anthony’s Runway 84, Carl’s Seafood, Cuba Libre, Eddie V’s, Billy’s Stone Crabs, Kasai & Koori, Mimi’s Ravioli, Piazza Italia, Sistrunk Marketplace and Tower Club. DJ Mack in the Morning – Totally 93.9 MIA will MC the event, along with Bravo’s Captain Lee from Below Deck as a special guest.

The Nifty Fifty Pep Rally 
Date: Nov. 6, 7-10 p.m. 
Location: Isle of Palms – Private Residence
Cost: Limited tickets are available. $100 per person / $150 for 2 tickets (save $50)
Description: The Nifty Fifty Pep Rally presented by Steve Savor, in association with The Umbrella Group, is a time travel to the 50s with multiple bands and retro DJs thru the decades, and diner fare by Fort Lauderdale Country Club. Ride share and Jeevz is encouraged. Decadent Milkshake Bar and beverage creations with Brugal Rum, Botanist, Remy Martin, Fireball Whisky and Cointreau with wines from Chloe and Cupcake. Livestream of the entertainment by AARP. 

2021 Poster Debut with Artist Charles Fazzino 
Date: Nov. 18, 6 p.m.
Location: The Guitar Hotel at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Wentworth Gallery – 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, Fl 33314
Cost: FREE
Description: Artist Charles Fazzino will debut the 50th Anniversary Winterfest® poster. The public is invited to the unveiling and will have the opportunity to mingle with celebrities such as Miami Dolphins player Emmanuel Ogbah.

Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Winterfest® Family Fun Day 
Date: Nov. 21, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: Huizenga Plaza 32 E. Las Olas Boulevard Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301
Cost: FREE 
Description: Fun for kids of all ages! Families will enjoy “The Polar Express,” face painting, food and beverage sampling, Pet Rescue Row, Stoked on Salt Conservation Village, photo opportunities with Santa, free giveaways, sampling by LaCroix, Fifth Third Bank Race Car, South Florida Ford, live entertainment, MC Amelia from BIG 105.9FM, story time with characters of the new holiday book “ POMP, SNOW  & CIRQUEumstance” and so much more.

Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest® Black Tie Ball Presented by Broward Health
Date: Dec. 4, 6 p.m. till midnight
Location: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, Fl 33314
Cost: Tables of 10 start at $3,000.
Description: The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will transform into a Winter Wonderland for this black-tie ball with entertainment sponsored by DEX Imaging. Guests will enjoy special performances from the Broadway Musical, Disney’s FROZEN, and the evening will be filled with a rich array of music from the 12-piece band “Private Stock.” Republic National Distributing, Co. will bring spirits and wines such as Chloe, Imagery, Tribute and 13 Celsius. Bid on amazing items in the Fidelity Investments silent auction. 

Captain’s Meeting Presented by Karma Automotive
Date: Dec. 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Location: TBA
Cost: Parade participants only. 
Description: In association with Frank & Jimmie’s Prop Shop and FB Marine Group, Karma will host Parade captains for dinner following the mandatory meeting. Goodie bags will be provided to each boater. 

Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest® Grand Marshal Reception Presented by University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center 
Date: Dec. 10, 6-9 p.m. 
Location: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, Fl 33314
Cost: Tickets are included with the purchase of a sponsorship.
Description: The Reception will honor the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest® Boat Parade Grand Marshal, Jr. Captain, Child Ambassador, and celebrity guests.

50th Anniversary Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest® Boat Parade
Date: Dec. 11, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Location: 12-mile route along the intracoastal waterway commencing in downtown Fort Lauderdale
Cost: FREE
Description: Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest® Boat Parade will celebrate its 50th anniversary with the theme, “50 Years of Hard Rockin’ Fun ... Winterfest 2021.” A highly anticipated signature event of the holidays, the Parade can be viewed along the 12-mile route commencing in downtown Fort Lauderdale. This year’s Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest® Boat Parade will sparkle with iconic rock images, music and décor in celebration of the 50th anniversary. The dazzling event will close out the year with floating stages of entertainment, beauty queens, celebrities and starry-eyed spectators of all ages. Since its inception in 1971, Winterfest® has become a Florida tradition with national and international viewers. 

Sponsor entries include South Florida Ford Fireworks, Fifth Third Bank Grand Marshal Showboat featuring the host city, the City of Fort Lauderdale, showstopper entries sponsored by WSVN-FOX, FPL, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, Republic National Distributing, Co., AARP, a Live Nativity by Catholic Health Services, Floating Concert Entry with Southern Blood, and more. Parade viewers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite entry on the Winterfest® App to win Spirit Airlines tickets.

VIP Viewing Area Presented by Holy Cross Health, Nova Southeastern University and Hotwire Communications 
Date: Dec. 11, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Location Laura Ward Park 
Cost: Tickets are included with the purchase of a sponsorship.
Description: Guests will experience an intimate view of the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest® Boat Parade. The most prestigious location to watch the Parade, close to 500 community leaders, dignitaries and Winterfest® Sponsors will enjoy the ambiance of a private function between the Riverside Hotel and Stranahan House located where the Parade starts on the New River. This event includes great food from the Riverside Hotel, Tower Club and area restaurants, along with cocktail creations with Republic National Distributing, Co. products such as Fireball Whisky, Chloe and Tribute wines and sampling by LaCroix. The area is also host to the filming of the WSVN television show, livestreaming with EyeOnSouthFlorida and Parade judges.

Parade Viewing Area presented by Baptist Health
Date: Dec. 11, Gates open at 4 p.m., Parade arrives at 7 pm, followed by a concert till 10:30 PM
Location: Las Olas Intracoastal Promenade Park — 80 Las Olas Cir., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Cost: $25 adults/$15 children 
Description: In association with the Beach Business Improvement District, and the Florida Panthers, spectators will experience a “Party in the Park” festival atmosphere at the Las Olas Intracoastal Promenade Park. Visitors will enjoy the Stella Artois Culinary Courtyard featuring Coca-Cola, LaCroix, Stella Artois and food vendors. The area will host a variety of activities, South Florida Ford, photos with Santa, and live entertainment on the City of Fort Lauderdale stage with Y100’s Frankie P, Big City Dogs, and the Shane Duncan Band. Parade commentary from iHeartMedia talent Drew from Y100 will be heard throughout the area. Make it a Winterfest® weekend with discounted hotel packages at winterfestparade.com. 

Coming from out of town to see the Parade? Winterfest® has a variety of weekend hotel/ticket packages on their website. Unable to come to Fort Lauderdale in December? No worries, the Parade will be available for viewing online. Winterfest® is once again teaming up with long time local community partner WSVN-TV Channel 7 and Eye On South Florida to stream the Parade online. WSVN Channel 7 will also air the Winterfest® one-hour special to ensure no one is left out of the fun.

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