Pitbull, cartoon-themed boats dazzle at 45th Winterfest Parade

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - It was an animated spectacle, headlined by an animated Grand Marshal.

Dozens of boats, dolled up in their holiday best, set sail along the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale, as the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade delighted revelers for a 45th year, Saturday night.

Not even a little rain could dampen the spirits of those who came to see the dazzling displays that had been worked on for weeks, and in some cases, months.

Revelers told 7News they did not disappoint. “A little drizzly, but otherwise, the boats are fantastic,” said attendee Francis Padron. “We’re having a great time.”

Despite the wet weather, the show went on as scheduled along a 12-mile route on the dazzling New River, in Downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The parade drew praise from attendee Noelle Cox. “I feel like my Christmas tree doesn’t compare to some of these folks, and let me tell you, I go all out,” she said.

This year’s theme was “Comics & Cartoons Rockin’ the Night Away,” and attendees were quick to pick their favorites. “The Hard Rock [display]. It was just big, and it had a lot of lights,” said Robin Penzone.

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But the parade’s Grand Marshal, Mr. 305 himself, was also popular among revelers. “It was fun seeing Pitbull and Santa Claus,” Sydney Herman said to the toddler she was holding in her arms. “Right, we liked seeing Santa Claus?”

The girl nodded silently.

Caitlin Padron immediately recognized the popular music theme from one of the boats. “The Flintstones,” she said.

Another vessel paid tribute to the long-running TV series “Gilligan’s Island,” but 2-year-old Noah wouldn’t know anything about that.

“He’s 2, and it’s his first boat parade, so we’re excited to be here,” said Kristen Gagne.

Still, Noah was mesmerized by all the festive holiday trappings: Christmas sweaters, glow sticks and all those bright lights coming from the boats and mega yachts on the water.

WSVN anchors Craig Stevens and Belkys Nerey certainly had a blast, as did a birthday lady, poncho and all, at this year’s spectacle, accurately dubbed “the greatest show on H2O.”

“It was awesome, a great time,” said Matt Smith.

Cox said she’s grateful to live away from colder climates. “When you can experience 70 degrees? And we say, ‘Oh, we’re chilly,’ and up north we’re getting 10 inches of snow,'” she said. “We know we’re blessed to live in South Florida.”

Organizers said more than 750,000 spectators were expected to line up to take in the sights.

The parade is set to air on WSVN on Saturday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m., with encore showings at 4 p.m. on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. For more information, click here.

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