2014 Winterfest Boat Parade: Where to Watch, Park, and Avoid Traffic

The Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade takes place this Saturday night, and if you're planning on going, this is your life-hack-guide to navigating the night. "The Greatest Show on H2O" aka "The World's Most Watched Boat Parade" aka "Why Does A Boat Show Have Multiple Nicknames" is going with a "TV's Greatest Hits" theme this year; so you can expect boats recreating your favorite boob-tube shows from over the years to be sailing by you all-night-long.

The parade travels along the New River, then travels east to the Intracoastal waterway in Fort Lauderdale, then north to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach. There is expected to be lots of traffic, bridge closings, and a shortage of parking in the area; so here are some tips that will save you some frustration Saturday, and get you to the water in time for the fun.

Bridge Closings

Starting at 4:30 p.m., the Florida East Coast Railroad bridge near Las Olas will be raised in anticipation of the parade. The 7th Avenue, Andrews Avenue, and 3rd Avenue bridges closing two hours later. At 7 p.m. the Las Olas Boulevard, Sunrise Boulevard and Oakland Park bridges raise, while the Commercial Boulevard bridge will raises at 8 p.m. All bridges will be back-in-business between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. As far as boaters are concerned, the intracoastal will be off limits beginning 5:20 p.m., and boat traffic is restricted from The New River at 2:30 p.m.

Join The Parade

For those who want to enter their boat into the parade, you can fill out the boat parade application here.

According to the event organizers, parade Start Time is 6:30 p.m., roll call starts at 4:30p.m., and the staging is along the New River. Also your application must be approved prior to receiving application - Part II, so if you haven't begun applying; you're running out of time.

All entry fees include an 8x10 photo of entry and two tickets to the Captain's Cup Awards Dinner on February 25, 2015.

Where To Watch

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, the Riverside Hotel, and the Downtowner Saloon are you're official viewing spots for the parade; these areas are you're best bets to get a great glimpse at the boats as they sail by.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park (with ticket)

3109 E. Sunrise Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 (954) 564-4521

The tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for children and $22 for senior citizens and military.

Riverside Hotel

620 East Las Olas Boulevard Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954) 467-0671 www.RiversideHotel.com

Downtowner Saloon

408 South Andrews Avenue Fort. Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954) 463-9800 http://downtownersaloon.com/

You can also catch the parade's Intercoastal routes at the following locations:

Bokampers Sports Bar and Grill 3115 NE 32nd Avenue, Ft Lauderdale, FL 33308 (954) 900-5584

Bahia Mar Beach Resort & Yachting Center 801 Seabreeze Boulevard Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 (954) 764-2233

Blue Moon Fish Company 4405 West Tradewinds Avenue, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL 33308 (954) 267-9888

For a complete list of alternate viewing places, places to eat, and anything else you need to know about the night, click here.

Parking for the event

For those who purchased Grandstand tickets, you're in luck. Grandstand ticket holds are allowed to park at the Galleria Mall (2414 E. Sunrise Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304), and also have the option of purchasing a ticket for a $5 roundtrip bus shuttle to take them to Hugh Taylor Birch State Park to view the event.

The shuttle will only run from 3:30 p.m.- 6 p.m. for travel to the event, then it will begin transporting group back to the Galleria Mall immediately following the conclusion of the parade.

The best bet for those of you without grandstand tickets is to get to the parking garages in Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach. Don't forget the bridges raise up at certain points and demand for that parking will be quiet high, so we suggest you get an early start on making your way to that area.

Events, Activities, and Appearances

Flo Rida is this years grand marshall for Saturday's Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade, because of course he is. Flo Rida is expected to perform some songs off his new album "The Perfect 10" throughout the night, and of course, will be doing so on a boat sailing by you.

Kids' activities, food and drinks, and of all kinds of fun can be found in the grandstand area beginning around 3:30 p.m. VIP grandstand seating at the park costs $25 and $20 (for 10 and younger) at WinterfestParade.com/Tickets

If you're sensing a theme here, you should; most all of the fun and excitement is located near or at the grandstand seating, so if you're looking to maximize your fun at the event -- it's probably a good idea to pony up the cash for those tickets.

Live Stream

Staying at home, or want to watch the parade while you're there? Here is the official link where you can catch the parade on your computer or mobile device.

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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.
Contact: Ryan Yousefi