WINTERFEST IS A 501(c)4 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 non-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.

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 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.

Ben Wesley, Chairman, Board of Directors

Lisa Scott-Founds, President and CEO

Kathleen G. Keleher, Marketing and Parade Director

Dawn L. Read, Event Director

For a complete list of board and advisory members click here .

Non-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. Its net earnings are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.”

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.