A bunch of local boaters and private yacht owners floatin' down the waterways of Fort Lauderdale, stringing up their ships to the nine with holiday lights and over-the-top decorations...while ALSO blasting toe-tappin-tunes on a Saturday night in December? Among all the Christmas events in Florida, this one is probably as "A Very Floridian Christmas" as you could possibly get!
An annual tradition that started in the 1970s and is now hosted by The Seminole Hard Rock, The Winterfest Boat Parade is returning to Fort Lauderdale for another lit Christmas — with over 100 boats all decked out and bumping tunes ranging from holiday jingles to hard-rock anthems.
The floating Christmas party will traverse a 12-mile parade route, each showing off their interpretation of this year's theme, "Neon Nightlife Under the Sea" on Saturday, December 10, at Las Olas Intracoastal Promenade Park.
Starting along the docks of west Stranahan House to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts around 7 pm, they'll then travel eastward along Fort Lauderdale's New River to the Intracoastal Waterway, continuing northbound to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach.
And with a tag-line like "The Best Show on H20," it's not surprising that the 51-year-and-counting event is also competing for the title of USA Today's Top Holiday Parade on their People's Choice Best 10 list for 2022. They compete alongside 19 other nominated candidates from across the continent.
Voters were able to throw in a ballot for their fave once a day up until December 5. Even though we won't know who won until December 16 at 12 pm noon EST, a post made to Winterfest Boat Parade's Facebook page on November 30 announced that they were trailing behind, just barely being squeezed out of the Top 10 running.
"Don't leave Winterfest at #11 - vote for us today and every day! Together we can be #1 Vote! Vote! Vote!" the post reads, ending with a link for followers to go show their support.
Since voting has already closed, all proud Floridians and Fort Lauderdale natives can do is cross their fingers and pray their beloved tradition makes the list while they catch this year's light show! How do you catch the parade anyway — and is there a best place to do so?
To get the best view of the floats that float, you're going to want to hit up the Parade Viewing Area, located at 300 Las Olas Circle, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316, for $25. If you know of another place you can park your booty for free along their route though, that's allowed too. The parade viewing area also has a stocking full of entertainment worth checking out, too.
If you want to make the most out of the event, turn it into a holiday day trip and show up when the gates open at 4 pm to enjoy all the amenities on-site, such as sips at bites at the Stella Artois Culinary Courtyard, performances from live entertainment, and other assorted family-friendly activities.
While The Winterfest Boat Parade has been a blast in the years past, and definitely worth going to at least once, not everyone is looking to venture out to Ft. Laudy for this one. If you're apart of that crew, or simply live too far away, you can also watch it on TV or live-stream from the comfort of your home or hotel room.
Don't forget your Christmas Jammies and the hot cocoa!