The Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade is a 43 year old South Florida tradition. Afterall, if you're going to make the trek down to the palm tree filled tip of the nation's southernmost peninsula, you probably aren't interested in snowmen and ice skating. You want your holiday happenings to be tropical, warm, and probably nautical.
The Winterfest Boat Parade serves up all of these - parade organizers can't actually control the weather but even a nippy night for the natives is pretty balmy for newbies, snowbirds, and northern visitors.
There are lots of lovely vantage points from which to watch the boats go by, from the historic Riverside Inn to the waterfront mansion of your mega rich friend.
But there's no better way to experience this most Floridian winter tradition than from inside it -- i.e. from inside a luxury cruise vessel receiving VIP treatment.
All aboard the Liberty Belle! You could purchase tickets, of course, but we've got a way you can win your way on for free.
We have the hookup on four VIP tickets to a sumptuous dinner aboard the Liberty Belle which will be sailing in this years Winterfest Boat Parade. The Liberty Belle is a paddlwheele cruise vessel -- think Mark Twain, sans the steam engine.
"We are excited to be a part of this year's Fort Lauderdale Winterfest Boat Parade and be able to showcase the Liberty Belle to Fort Lauderdale. She has been the talk of the town and we know she is going to steal the show." Says James Campbell, President of Marine Hospitality. "We want our guest to not only enjoy the beauty of the Liberty Belle but also be able to be a part of the Winterfest Boat Parade in such a magical way."
Around 400 passengers will enjoy a full holiday meal with all the trimmings from hors d'oeuvres to the full-course holiday dinner including roast turkey with gravy and cranberry sauce orglazed honey ham with mustard sauce as the paddleboat navigates the 12 mile route in this year's parade. Did we neglect to mention the top shelf open bar and assorted desserts? Silly us.
Now, four VIP passes aboard such a vessel, for such a meal, in such an iconic parade don't come easy. You're going to have to work a bit for it.
Such a momentous offering is worthy of a finely crafted haiku about the joys (or absurdities) of celebrating the winter holidays in tropical South Florida. For those who need a freshman lit refresher, a haiku is a short poem consisting of three lines of five, seven, and five syllables each. It doesn't need to rhyme, but extra credit if you can manage it.
You can post your holiday haiku in the comments below or on our Facebook page, but just make sure we have a way of identifying and contacting you to notify you that you've won. (In other words, if you comment on the blog, you need to register with your email address.)
You must be at least 21 to enter -- remember that open bar. The winner will be announced here on the blog at 9 a.m. Friday, December 12. You will claim your tickets at will call at the Riverfront Ticket booth at Riverwalk, 300 SW First Ave.
If you don't win -- or you'd just like to skip the homework assignment -- tickets can be purchased for $145 each at riverfrontcruise.com.
The 43rd-Annual Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade sets sail at 6:30 p.m. in Fort Lauderdale's Downtown, traveling 12 miles first east on the New River, then north on the Intracoastal weighing anchor at 10:30 p.m. in Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach. For the full lineup of events including the Grand Marshall Experience on Friday, December 12 and information about the grandstand and VIP viewing areas, visit winterfestparade.com/events.
You can contact Rebecca McBane, Arts & Culture Editor/Food Editor at [email protected].