What is the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade and why should you – your business – your community organization get involved? Some of our Parade supporters explain why this event is the Top 20th Parade in the World and the “Best Show on H2O!“
Winterfest is a 501(c)4 Organization
WINTERFEST IS A SPECIAL ORGANIZATION
Winterfest has one special mission – To produce wholesome, unique, internationally recognized events that enhance Fort Lauderdale’s image and reflect the diversity and culture of South Florida.
Winterfest, best known for its one-of-a-kind Boat Parade, brings together our community and visitors from around the world. In 1988, community leaders decided to build upon the popularity of the Boat Parade and create a Not For Profit organization that would make the Parade and all of its surrounding events into a world-class community extravaganza. Broward County also benefits, thanks to Winterfest’s economic impact on the community of more than $50 million per year.
Winterfest encourages and promotes diversity among all Fort Lauderdale cultures, races, and religions. Winterfest has a huge base of 300+ volunteers, supporters, and sponsors led by its Board of Directors. Since most Winterfest events are free to the public, sponsorships from local and national corporations and organizations provide the “fuel” to help run all Winterfest festivities. Our sponsors ensure the continued success and future growth of the Winterfest Celebration.
The International Festival and Events Association has named Winterfest to its top 20 Parades in the World. With more than 50,000 parades in the United States alone, this is a huge international honor that places Winterfest in the prestigious company of the Macy’s, Mardi Gras, Rose Bowl, and Disney Parades.
In 2023, Winterfest was the winner of Six Florida Festivals & Events SUNsational Awards.
In 2021, Winterfest took home the gold (and silver and bronze) in multiple categories at the FFEA’s 2021 SunSational Awards!
In 2020 and 2019, The Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade has been named in the top three Parades in BizBash 100 Best in South Florida.
In 2020, Winterfest won 13 awards from the Florida Festivals and Events Association. Details click here.
In 2019, Winterfest won 12 awards from International Festival and Event Association. Details click here.
In 2019, Winterfest won 10 awards from the Florida Festivals and Events Association.
In 2019, Winterfest won USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Travel Award Contest.
Some more great statistics about the Winterfest Parade:
- More than 1,000,000 cheering spectators line the 12-mile parade route
- The largest, one-day, live audience event in Florida!
- The seventh-largest one-day spectator event in the country!
- Winterfest was selected by Readers Digest for its list of “100 Best Events in America”.
- The Parade has historical photos dating back to 1955 but was noted as an organized event in 1971.
The Winterfest Organization
Winterfest Founding Sponsors include the Marine Industries of South Florida, Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale, the City of Fort Lauderdale, and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. Thanks to our premier title partner, the parade is now known officially as the SEMINOLE HARD ROCK WINTERFEST BOAT PARADE. The Best Show on H2O!
Bill Walker, Chairman, Board of Directors
Lisa Scott-Founds, President and CEO
Kathleen G. Keleher, Marketing and Parade Director
Dawn Read Diehl, Event Director
For a complete list of board and advisory members click here .
Not for Profit Status
Winterfest has been designated by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(4) not for profit organization. A 501(c)(4) organization is operated primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements. It is exempt from taxation as a “social welfare” group, civic league, or organization not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.
Winterfest is “primarily engaged” in promoting social welfare because it promotes the common good and general welfare of the people of the community. Sponsorships and contributions to Winterfest are not tax-deductible as charitable contributions but sponsorships may, in accordance with federal law, be classified as business and/or marketing expenses.
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.” REGISTRATION#: CH843
State of Florida Trademark Registration No. T09936