By Elizabeth Rahe
One hundred boats gilded to the bulwarks, to the wheelhouses, to the tuna towers. One million spectators watching from the shoreline, from hotels and restaurants, from holiday-trimmed balconies. The Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade on Dec. 14 promises to brighten the Fort Lauderdale holiday season once more. Here are some more numbers that help tell the story of this South Florida tradition:
504 Splits and 204 full-size bottles of Moët & Chandon champagne are expected to be popped at the Winterfest Black Tie Ball Dec. 7 at Hard Rock Live, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood.
41 Parades have plied Fort Lauderdale waters since 1971. This year makes 42. Each has featured a grand marshal, including Bob Hope, Kelly Ripa, Joan Rivers, Randy Jackson, Donald Trump, Shaq, Alonzo Mourning and Kim Kardashian. This year, former SNL cast member and ’30 Rock’ star Tracy Morgan will serve as Grand Marshal, with co-Grand Marshal Ryan Hunter-Reay, reigning IndyCar champion and Fort Lauderdale resident.
12 Miles is the distance the parade will travel from downtown Fort Lauderdale, east on the New River and north on the Intracoastal Waterway to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach.
2 Parade themes have included the word paradise, including this year’s Passport to Paradise. Look for a plethora of exotic-destination decorations. (The 2002 theme was Pirates in Paradise.)
7,000 parade watchers are expected to flow into Birch State Park, where the Grandstand Viewing Area holds 4,000 reserved seats. There will be free interactive games, live entertainment, food trucks and the Michelob Ultra Culinary Courtyard. (Reserve your seats at winterfestparade.com.)
Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade begins 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14,