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Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade turns 50

Charles Fazzino’s art commemorates the event’s 50th anniversary. (Courtesy image)

FORT LAUDERDALE — This is a milestone year for the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade as it will celebrate 50
years with its parade on Dec. 11 along a 12-mile stretch in Broward County. This year’s theme is “50 Years of Hard Rockin’ Fun.”

Starting in Fort Lauderdale’s downtown, the parade route travels east on the New River and north on the Intracoastal to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach. The nonprofit Winterfest Foundation describes the parade as the world’s most watched boat parade. Winterfest had an economic impact on the county of more than $50 million in 2019, according to its annual report.

The parade began in 1971. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood became the title sponsor in 2004. Last year the parade was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Emmy-winning television host and former “Saved by the Bell” star Mario Lopez will be the grand marshal. Lopez will also appear Dec. 10 at the grand marshal reception from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the casino. The reception will honor Lopez, the Winterfest Foundation’s Jr. Captain Violet Martin from the Florida Youth Orchestra, the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center child ambassador Jordan Levy and celebrity guests. The evening will include a performance by violinist Steve Avi and appearances by founding member of NSYNC Joey Fatone and Bravo’s “Below Deck” Captain Lee.

NBC Today Show meteorologist Willard Scott was the parade’s first grand marshal in 1984. Other celebrities that have served as grand marshal include David Cassidy, Flo Rida, Barry Gibb, Julio Iglesias Jr., Kim Kardashian, Dan Marino, Bret
Michaels, Alonzo Mourning, Pitbull and Joan Rivers.

A black tie ball is scheduled for Dec. 4 at the casino. The ball is sold out. For more information, including
tickets and viewing details, visit WinterfestParade.com or call (954) 767-0686.

After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade returns Dec. 11. In 2019, Hollywood
Councilman Chris Osceola joined grand marshal Bret Michaels at a pre-parade event. (Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest)
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