FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Before the 51st annual Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade rolls along the New River this weekend, revelers got to see this year’s grand marshals.
A big crowd is expected to come down for the annual bash on the water, Saturday evening.
It’s easy to see why the event is knows as the greatest show on H2O.
Festivities kicked off Friday with the grand marshal reception at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
This year, a trio of pop singers will lead the parade: NSYNC members Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick and pop diva Taylor Dane.
“We, hopefully, like we always do, see a whole bunch of people out there,” said Fatone. “It’s really cool to see the boats. I love how they decorate them.”
“All the concepts are awesome, and it’s just cool to be a part of that and watching it as it goes,” said Kirkpatrick.
“I’ve seen enough pictures, but it’s pretty magical out there,” said Dane. “Once that sun goes down and you can see what’s going on out there, it looks amazing.”
Meanwhile, Las Olas Boulevard was already buzzing Friday night.
“We’ve been coming down here to watch the boat parade for the last, like, 5 or 6 years,” said reveler Jodi Moegenberg.
“It’s the greatest time to bring family, friends, workers, just to overlook the water and see the gorgeous boats as they go by,” said Jaimie Huysman. “It’s all so creative, like Macy’s parade but on the water. It’s fabulous.”
Event organizers are anticipating more than a million people to come out and watch.
“Get here early, park early,” said Moegenberg.
Preparations for the parade take months.
This year’s theme is “Neon Nightlife Under The Sea,” so revelers can expect bright lights and intricate designs.
“We are so excited. This parade, 51 years, is going to be the most magnificent we have ever produced,” said Winterfest Inc. CEO and President Lisa Scott-Founds.
Boats will start sailing out of downtown Fort Lauderdale at around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. The boats will head east along the New River and into the Intracoastal Waterway, following a 12-mile route.
“This boat parade is the largest one-day spectator event in the entire state of Florida,” said Scott-Founds. “We have over a million people that come out and witness this beautiful spectacle.”
Revelers planning to attend on Saturday said it’s the perfect time of the year for it.
“It’s a great time to showcase Las Olas, downtown, the beautiful weather and the lights and the incredible boats,” said Huysman. “It’s going to be unique. We love it.”
Attendees will be able to watch along the route or at the Las Olas Promenade Park. Gates are set to open at 3 p.m. For more information, click here.
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