"50 Years of Hard Rockin’ Fun… Winterfest 2021"
Launching in 1971, the Winterfest Boat Parade has navigated Fort Lauderdale’s waterways for the past 50 years bringing holiday cheer to millions of viewers by land and by sea!
As a living document and a virtual home for our 50+ years of history. Add your Winterfest Memory here.
"Home for the Holidays"
In 2020, with everyone “Home For The Holidays,” WSVN creates a television recap of the “Best Show on H2O” with historic video and current highlights.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s four: “Home for the Holidays.” Nick Scalzo designs the poster for Winterfest 2020.
The Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade is named Top Three of 100 events in South Florida by BizBash.
"Lights, Camera, Action… Movies on Parade"
From Poison, to The Celebrity Apprentice, to his charitable work, Grand Marshal Bret Michaels is more than a rockstar. But when the curtain went up on the 2019 parade he delivered Nothing But A Good Time.
Winterfest is awarded one of USA Today’s 10Best Holiday Parades.
"Best of the 80s"
Number 1 Eighties Hitmaker Huey Lewis goes Back To The Future to bring The Heart of Rock & Roll to the Winterfest Boat Parade’s “Best of the 80s”
Winterfest wins fifteen 2018 SunSational Awards from the Florida Festivals & Events Association
"Broadway on Parade"
CMA, Grammy and Billboard Music Award winning Big & Rich Save a Horse and Ride a Showboat as Grand Marshals in 2017.
Keeping the streak alive, for the Third Year In A Row, Winterfest is awarded one of USA Today’s 10Best Holiday Parades.
April Kirk designs the 2017 Parade Poster for “Broadway On Parade.”
"Comics and Cartoons Rockin’ the Night Away"
Rapper, singer, songwriter, Grammy winner and now Grand Marshal, Mr. 305 comes to the 954.
With a three-peat, artist Charles Fazzino returns to design the Boat Parade Poster for “Comics and Cartoons Rockin’ the Night Away”
Below Deck’s Captain Lee becomes the official Captain of Winterfest
Real Ice Rink becomes part of Winterfest Family Fun Day
In a repeat of 2015, USA Today 10Best readers recognized Winterfest as one of the Top 10 Best Holiday Festivals.
"Fairy Tales Afloat"
Actor, comedian, rapper and host of America’s Got Talent, Nick Cannon is the Grand Marshal for 2015.
In 2015, USA Today 10Best readers recognized Winterfest as one of the Top 10 Best Holiday Festivals.
"TV’s Greatest Hits"
Florida native and People’s Choice Award Winner Flo Rida is the 2014 Grand Marshal.
"Passport to Paradise"
Fort Lauderdale native and comedian Tracy Morgan and Indy champ Ryan Hunter-Reay are Grand Marshals for 2013.
In addition to designing Parade Posters, Pat Anderson creates the annual Winterfest Collectible Ornaments.
Inside Edition’s Deborah Norville joins Winterfest as Grand Marshal.
In 2012 the Winterfest parade hosted, for the first time, a replica of an 1812 tall ship – The Lynx
"Rockin’ Boats and Holiday Floats"
Setting sail in 1971, 2011 marks the 40th time Winterfest, the parade where “the floats really float”, has celebrated the holidays.
Multi-Grammy Award winning member of The Bee Gees, and Florida local, Barry Gibb brings the “Night Fever” to Winterfest as the Grand Marshal for 2011.
Marine wildlife artist and conservationist Guy Harvey returns to design the Winterfest Parade Poster for 2011
Winterfest is presented with the Seven Seals Award “for meritorious leadership and initiative in support of the men and women who serve America in the National Guard and Reserve.”
"Dancing Thru The Decades"
“Dancing with the Stars” winner and co-host Brooke Burke is Grand Marshal for Winterfest’s “Dancing thru the Decades” theme.
The 100th Anniversary Fort Lauderdale Centennial events officially begin with the Winterfest boat parade on December 11th.
Winterfest adds “Elves” to the parade in 2010
Artist Charles Fazzino returns in 2010 to design the Boat Parade Poster for “Dancing Thru The Decades”
Sharing the duties of Grand Marshal are basketball great Alonozo Mourning and star of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” Kim Kardashian.
8 Year Old Julia Dale becomes the Songbird of Winterfest
Congratulations, Amanda Blake. In the Jr. Captain program, Broward County non-profit organizations nominate children between the ages of 7 & 16 that receive their services
"Rockin' the Night Aweigh"
Actor, comedian and singer Jim Belushi is “Rockin’ the Night Aweigh” as Grand Marshal for 2008.
"Magical Movie Moments"
In 2007, Winterfest welcomes as Grand Marshal Academy Award and Emmy nominated Sopranos star Lorraine Bracco.
The Parade’s staging area moves to Downtown Fort Lauderdale on the New River
Winterfest introduces mascot Skip Ahoy
"Broadway on the Waterway"
Jersey Boy and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Frankie Valli serves as Grand Marshal 2006.
2006 marks the First Winterfest White (Launch) Party
Starting as a volunteer in 1987, previous Executive Director Lisa Scott-Founds takes over the helm of Winterfest as President/CEO.
"Jewel of the Nile"
Winterfest partners with the internationally famous King Tut and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs (a National Geographic Exhibition) at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art
Artist Cary Chen returns in his second consecutive year designing our Parade Poster
American Idol’s Randy Jackson serves as Winterfest’s Grand Marshal in 2005
"Rock And Roll FantaSea"
The Parade name changes to the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade
Legendary basketball player Shaquille O’Neal joins two teams in 2004… The Miami Heat and Winterfest.
Renowned marine wildlife artist Carey Chen becomes the Winterfest Parade Poster artist for 2004
Winterfest hosted the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship’s inaugural gala benefiting the Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony
The Winterfest Parade listed in Reader’s Digest “100 Best” in May of 2004.
"Once Upon a Time"
Winterfest is ranked 7th largest one day spectator event in the country, and Second largest event in Florida based on attendees by the Florida Festival and Events Association.
Superstar Actor, Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist and Keith Partridge himself, David Cassidy is the Grand Marshal for 2003.
Since 1978 the 34 foot sailboat Mooncusser and its troop of wooden soldiers have been a Winterfest tradition and family favorite. BOOM!
In 2003, Winterfest brought the parade into the classroom with the first annual cover contest with BellSouth Real Yellow Pages
"Pirates in Paradise"
“Live! with Regis and Kelly” Star Kelly Ripa and TV and Movie Star Mark Consuelos take over the Grand Marshal duties.
"On a River of Dreams"
Designed by artist Pat Anderson, the Winterfest Collectible Ornaments have become a yearly tradition and keepsake. Celebrating our 30th anniversary, the 2001 ornament is the first. You can get yours here.
Winterfest brings back the Golf Tournament to the list of events.
And the Parade has a new name: Cingular Wireless Winterfest Boat Parade presented by Nokia
"The World on Water"
For the new century, a new trio of Grand Marshals: Laurie Hibberd (CBS Reporter), Michael Gelman (producer Live with Regis) and Jose Solano (Baywatch).
"The Last Sail of the Century"
Model, TV Star and Epic Recording Artist Julio Iglesias, Jr. takes the helm of the last Boat Parade of the century as Grand Marshal.
By The International Festival and Events Association.
"Holiday Theater of the Sea"
Three-time Emmy nominated and Golden Globe winning actress and singer Ann Jillian is the Grand Marshal for 1998.
Marine wildlife artist and conservationist Guy Harvey designs the Winterfest Parade Poster for 1998
Winterfest establishes a tradition, honoring Guy Harvey as our first official Commodore.
"Hail the Decks with Bells and Holly"
Dave Thomas, the founder and CEO of Wendy’s restaurants, and Brandi Sherwood, Miss USA 1997.
The first ever “Belle of the Ball,” an annual award presented at the Black Tie Ball to a member of the business community known for their commitment to volunteerism and public service, goes to Chair Emeritus Ina Lee.
With a new title sponsor, Bell South, the parade is officially called “The BellSouth Winterfest Boat Parade Presented by Nokia.”
"By the Lights of the Silvery Moon"
Our Silver Anniversary marks 25 years of helping Fort Lauderdale celebrate the holidays.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse, celebrating the 25th year of Walt Disney World in Orlando, are Co-Grand Marshals for Winterfest’s 25th anniversary.
Officialy becoming known as the “Continental Airlines Boat Parade.”
750,000 parade-goers make the Winterfest Boat Parade “America’s Most Watched Boat Parade”
Stage, Screen and TV Star George Hamilton is the Grand Marshal for 1995.
Regis Philbin, host of Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee repeats his role as Grand Marshal for 1994.
Continental Airlines is Winterfest’s first named Title Sponsor of Parade.
"Tropical Fantasy of Lights"
Regis Philbin, host of Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee is the Grand Marshal for 1993.
"One Enchanted Evening"
Longtime sidekick to Johnny Carson on NBC’s Tonight Show, Ed McMahon, shares the title of Grand Marshal with assistants Micky and Minnie Mouse.
Congregation Chabad Lubavitch and their floating menorah set sail aboard the 65 foot Happy Times.
"Reflections on the Water"
Commedienne and nationally televised talk show host Joan Rivers is Grand Marshal for 1991.
And reclaims the name “Winterfest“.
"All The World’s A Stage"
The Six Million Dollar Man himself, Lee Majors, is the Winterfest Grand Marshal for 1990.
Winterfest aligns with the Blockbuster Bowl and changes its name to the Sunshine Festival, which expands its schedule of events to run throughout the year..
"Light Up The World"
The Star hosts of “Regis and Kathy Lee” share Grand Marshal duties.
"Love in Any Language"
Winterfest’s New Year’s Eve extravaganza, Light Up Lauderdale, attracts 30,000 people to Downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Football Legend Dan Marino and Entertainment Tonight’s Jeanne Wolf take the helm of the Winterfest Boat Parade.
"Daydreams of a Child"
Nancy Stafford, of TV’s Matlock series, and Lillian Wilkoszynski, 1987’s Orange Bowl Queen, are Co-Grand Marshals.
“Bob Hope’s Christmas Special” uses Winterfest as the backdrop for the show with an estimated 42 million TV viewers.
The First Golf Tournament joins the family of Winterfest Events.
Winterfest becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce (Richard G. Clark – Chamber President)
This year’s Beach Ball entertained thousands with the Grammy Award winning group, The Commodores.
Winterfest provides 3,000 seats at Birch State Park, including bus service from parking.
In 1986, Grand Marshal duties were shared by stars Willard Scott (NBC Today Show) and Gary Collins (Hour Magazine).
Doc Severinson, Jazz Trumpeter and Bandleader on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Willard Scott from NBC’s Today Show.
MR. BOBB, the 60 foot Hatteras Sport fisherman owned by the Messingschlager Family, debuts. Over the decades MR. BOBB has become a tradition and has always been a “People’s Choice Award” winner.
The WINTERFEST Black Tie Ball joins the roster of events.
WINTERFEST goes national with our first “Official” Boat Parade Grand Marshal Willard Scott, famed meteorologist of NBC’s Today Show.
The Inaugural Beach Ball, with musical guests Spyro Gyra, draws a crowd of 100,000.
"A Tropical Fantasy"
“A Tropical Fantasy” is chosen as the first WINTERFEST theme. Participating boats add animation and props to interpret the theme.
Winterfest’s first President/CEO/Chair is TravelHost Magazine’s Ina Lee. Ina will fill the role for the next six years.
Broward’s Tourist Development Council, June Switken, director, first funds Winterfest in 1982.