Winterfest’s 50th

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!

Winterfest Builds a Timeline

As a living document and a virtual home for our 50+ years of history. Add your Winterfest Memory here.

Winterfest Goes Virtual

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.

Poster Artist Nick Scalzo

If a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s four: “Home for the Holidays.” Nick Scalzo designs the poster for Winterfest 2020.

Winterfest Named Top Three

The Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade is named Top Three of 100 events in South Florida by BizBash.

Grand Marshal: Bret Michaels

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.

Commodore: Bill Walker

Winterfest Places in the Top 3 in USA Today’s 10Best

Winterfest is awarded one of USA Today’s 10Best Holiday Parades.

Belle of the Ball: Robyn Vines

Grand Marshal: Huey Lewis

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”

Bell of the Ball: Alyssa Lovitt

Commodore: Johnny Williams

Winterfest Wins Big in 2018

Winterfest wins fifteen 2018 SunSational Awards from the Florida Festivals & Events Association

Co-Grand Marshals: Big & Rich

CMA, Grammy and Billboard Music Award winning Big & Rich Save a Horse and Ride a Showboat as Grand Marshals in 2017.

Belle of the Ball: Genia Duncan Ellis

Commodore: Ken Ortner

With a Three-peat, Winterfest Wins USA Today’s 10Best

Keeping the streak alive, for the Third Year In A Row, Winterfest is awarded one of USA Today’s 10Best Holiday Parades.

Poster Artist April Kirk

April Kirk designs the 2017 Parade Poster for “Broadway On Parade.”

Grand Marshal: Pitbull

Rapper, singer, songwriter, Grammy winner and now Grand Marshal, Mr. 305 comes to the 954.

Poster Artist: Charles Fazzino

With a three-peat, artist Charles Fazzino returns to design the Boat Parade Poster for “Comics and Cartoons Rockin’ the Night Away”

Belle of the Ball: Wendy Liebowitz

Commodore: Doug Jones

Captain Lee becomes Captain of Winterfest

Below Deck’s Captain Lee becomes the official Captain of Winterfest

Family Fun Day Adds Real Ice Rink

Real Ice Rink becomes part of Winterfest Family Fun Day

Second Year in a Row – Winterfest in the 10Best

In a repeat of 2015, USA Today 10Best readers recognized Winterfest as one of the Top 10 Best Holiday Festivals.

Grand Marshal: Nick Cannon

Actor, comedian, rapper and host of America’s Got Talent, Nick Cannon is the Grand Marshal for 2015.

Belle of the Ball: Lori Perlman

Commodore: Capt. Lee Rosbach

Knight: Bob Leider

Winterfest in the 10Best

In 2015, USA Today 10Best readers recognized Winterfest as one of the Top 10 Best Holiday Festivals.

Grand Marshal Flo Rida

Florida native and People’s Choice Award Winner Flo Rida is the 2014 Grand Marshal.

Belle of the Ball: Diana Reed

Commodore: Rob Kornahrens

Co-Grand Marshals: Tracy Morgan and Ryan Hunter-Reay

Fort Lauderdale native and comedian Tracy Morgan and Indy champ Ryan Hunter-Reay are Grand Marshals for 2013.

Belle of the Ball: Stacy Copeland

Commodore: Gary Correll

Poster Artist: Pat Anderson

In addition to designing Parade Posters, Pat Anderson creates the annual Winterfest Collectible Ornaments.

Grand Marshal: Deborah Norville

Inside Edition’s Deborah Norville joins Winterfest as Grand Marshal.

First Tall Ship

In 2012 the Winterfest parade hosted, for the first time, a replica of an 1812 tall ship – The Lynx

Commodore: John Haley

40th Anniversary of the Winterfest Celebration

Setting sail in 1971, 2011 marks the 40th time Winterfest, the parade where “the floats really float”, has celebrated the holidays.

Grand Marshal: Barry Gibb

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.

Poster Artist: Guy Harvey

Marine wildlife artist and conservationist Guy Harvey returns to design the Winterfest Parade Poster for 2011

Seven Seals Award

Winterfest is presented with the Seven Seals Awardfor meritorious leadership and initiative in support of the men and women who serve America in the National Guard and Reserve.”

Grand Marshal: Brooke Burke

“Dancing with the Stars” winner and co-host Brooke Burke is Grand Marshal for Winterfest’s “Dancing thru the Decades” theme.

Winterfest Boat Parade Kicks Off the Centennial

The 100th Anniversary Fort Lauderdale Centennial events officially begin with the Winterfest boat parade on December 11th.

Elves

Winterfest adds “Elves” to the parade in 2010

Belle of the Ball: Susan Renneisen

Poster Artist: Charles Fazzino

Artist Charles Fazzino returns in 2010 to design the Boat Parade Poster for “Dancing Thru The Decades”

Commodore: Frank Herhold

Co-Grand Marshals: Kim Kardashian & Alonzo Mourning

Sharing the duties of Grand Marshal are basketball great Alonozo Mourning and star of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” Kim Kardashian.

The Songbird of Winterfest

8 Year Old Julia Dale becomes the Songbird of Winterfest

First Jr. Captain

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

Grand Marshal: Jim Belushi

Actor, comedian and singer Jim Belushi is “Rockin’ the Night Aweigh” as Grand Marshal for 2008.

Commodore: Jim Dunn

Grand Marshal: Lorraine Bracco

In 2007, Winterfest welcomes as Grand Marshal Academy Award and Emmy nominated Sopranos star Lorraine Bracco.

Parade Start Moves to the Downtown

The Parade’s staging area moves to Downtown Fort Lauderdale on the New River

Ahoy There, Skippy!

Winterfest introduces mascot Skip Ahoy

Grand Marshal: Frankie Valli

Jersey Boy and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Frankie Valli serves as Grand Marshal 2006.

First Winterfest White Party

2006 marks the First Winterfest White (Launch) Party

Winterfest Welcomes New President/CEO

Starting as a volunteer in 1987, previous Executive Director Lisa Scott-Founds takes over the helm of Winterfest as President/CEO.

Float Like An Egyptian

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

Poster Artist: Cary Chen

Artist Cary Chen returns in his second consecutive year designing our Parade Poster

Grand Marshal: Randy Jackson

American Idol’s Randy Jackson serves as Winterfest’s Grand Marshal in 2005

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Becomes Title Sponsor

The Parade name changes to the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade

Grand Marshal: Shaquille O’Neal

Legendary basketball player Shaquille O’Neal joins two teams in 2004… The Miami Heat and Winterfest.

Carey Chen Parade Poster

Renowned marine wildlife artist Carey Chen becomes the Winterfest Parade Poster artist for 2004

Winterfest on the Queen Mary 2

Winterfest hosted the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship’s inaugural gala benefiting the Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony

Reader’s Digest “100 Best”

The Winterfest Parade listed in Reader’s Digest “100 Best” in May of 2004.

7th Largest One Day Spectator Event

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.

Grand Marshal: David Cassidy

Superstar Actor, Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist and Keith Partridge himself, David Cassidy is the Grand Marshal for 2003.

Mooncusser Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Since 1978 the 34 foot sailboat Mooncusser and its troop of wooden soldiers have been a Winterfest tradition and family favorite. BOOM!

First Student Art Contest

In 2003, Winterfest brought the parade into the classroom with the first annual cover contest with BellSouth Real Yellow Pages

Co-Grand Marshals: Kelly Ripa & Mark Consuelos

“Live! with Regis and Kelly” Star Kelly Ripa and TV and Movie Star Mark Consuelos take over the Grand Marshal duties.

Grand Marshal: Donald Trump

First Winterfest Collectible Ornament

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.

Golf Tournament Returns

Winterfest brings back the Golf Tournament to the list of events.

30 years at the Holiday Helm

And the Parade has a new name: Cingular Wireless Winterfest Boat Parade presented by Nokia

Trio of Grand Marshals

For the new century, a new trio of Grand Marshals: Laurie Hibberd (CBS Reporter), Michael Gelman (producer Live with Regis) and Jose Solano (Baywatch).

Grand Marshal: Julio Iglesias, Jr.

Model, TV Star and Epic Recording Artist Julio Iglesias, Jr. takes the helm of the last Boat Parade of the century as Grand Marshal.

Named the 20th Best Parade in the World

By The International Festival and Events Association.

Grand Marshal: Ann Jillian

Three-time Emmy nominated and Golden Globe winning actress and singer Ann Jillian is the Grand Marshal for 1998.

Guy Harvey Parade Poster

Marine wildlife artist and conservationist Guy Harvey designs the Winterfest Parade Poster for 1998

First Official Commodore of the Parade

Winterfest establishes a tradition, honoring Guy Harvey as our first official Commodore.

Co-Grand Marshals: Dave Thomas & Brandi Sherwood

Dave Thomas, the founder and CEO of Wendy’s restaurants, and Brandi Sherwood, Miss USA 1997.

First Belle of the Ball

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.

New Title Sponsor

With a new title sponsor, Bell South, the parade is officially called “The BellSouth Winterfest Boat Parade Presented by Nokia.”

Winterfest’s 25th Anniversary

Our Silver Anniversary marks 25 years of helping Fort Lauderdale celebrate the holidays.

Co-Grand Marshals: Mickey and Minnie

Mickey and Minnie Mouse, celebrating the 25th year of Walt Disney World in Orlando, are Co-Grand Marshals for Winterfest’s 25th anniversary.

The Parade Adopts a New Name

Officialy becoming known as the “Continental Airlines Boat Parade.”

America’s Most Watched Boat Parade

750,000 parade-goers make the Winterfest Boat Parade “America’s Most Watched Boat Parade”

Grand Marshal: George Hamilton

Stage, Screen and TV Star George Hamilton is the Grand Marshal for 1995.

Grand Marshal: Regis Philbin

Regis Philbin, host of Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee repeats his role as Grand Marshal for 1994.

First Title Sponsor

Continental Airlines is Winterfest’s first named Title Sponsor of Parade.

Grand Marshal: Regis Philbin

Regis Philbin, host of Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee is the Grand Marshal for 1993.

Grand Marshal: Ed McMahon, with Assistant Grand Marshals Micky and Minnie Mouse

Longtime sidekick to Johnny Carson on NBC’s Tonight Show, Ed McMahon, shares the title of Grand Marshal with assistants Micky and Minnie Mouse.

First Hanukkah-Themed Boat

Congregation Chabad Lubavitch and their floating menorah set sail aboard the 65 foot Happy Times.

Grand Marshal: Joan Rivers

Commedienne and nationally televised talk show host Joan Rivers is Grand Marshal for 1991.

The Sunshine Festival Comes About…

And reclaims the name “Winterfest“.

Grand Marshal: Lee Majors

The Six Million Dollar Man himself, Lee Majors, is the Winterfest Grand Marshal for 1990.

Winterfest becomes The Sunshine Festival

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..

Co-Grand Marshals: Regis Philbin & Cathy Lee Crosby

The Star hosts of “Regis and Kathy Lee” share Grand Marshal duties.

First Light Up Lauderdale

Winterfest’s New Year’s Eve extravaganza, Light Up Lauderdale, attracts 30,000 people to Downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Co-Grand Marshals: Dan Marino & Jeanne Wolf

Football Legend Dan Marino and Entertainment Tonight’s Jeanne Wolf take the helm of the Winterfest Boat Parade.

Co-Grand Marshals: Nancy Stafford & Lillian Wilkoszynski

Nancy Stafford, of TV’s Matlock series, and Lillian Wilkoszynski, 1987’s Orange Bowl Queen, are Co-Grand Marshals.

Winterfest has Hope!

Bob Hope’s Christmas Special” uses Winterfest as the backdrop for the show with an estimated 42 million TV viewers.

Fore!

The First Golf Tournament joins the family of Winterfest Events.

Winterfest comes under the umbrella of the GFLCC

Winterfest becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce (Richard G. Clark – Chamber President)

Family Beach Ball features The Commodores

This year’s Beach Ball entertained thousands with the Grammy Award winning group, The Commodores.

First Grandstands in Birch State Park

Winterfest provides 3,000 seats at Birch State Park, including bus service from parking.

Co-Grand Marshals: Willard Scott & Gary Collins

In 1986, Grand Marshal duties were shared by stars Willard Scott (NBC Today Show) and Gary Collins (Hour Magazine).

Co-Grand Marshals: Doc Severinsen & Willard Scott

Doc Severinson, Jazz Trumpeter and Bandleader on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Willard Scott from NBC’s Today Show.

First Float for Mr. Bobb

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 First Winterfest Black Tie Ball

The WINTERFEST Black Tie Ball joins the roster of events.

Our First National Grand Marshal

WINTERFEST goes national with our first “Official” Boat Parade Grand Marshal Willard Scott, famed meteorologist of NBC’s Today Show.

First Beach Ball

The Inaugural Beach Ball, with musical guests Spyro Gyra, draws a crowd of 100,000.

The First Parade Theme

A Tropical Fantasy” is chosen as the first WINTERFEST theme. Participating boats add animation and props to interpret the theme.

Winterfest Has a President

Winterfest’s first President/CEO/Chair is TravelHost Magazine’s Ina Lee. Ina will fill the role for the next six years.

First Tourist Council Funding

Broward’s Tourist Development Council, June Switken, director, first funds Winterfest in 1982.