Local boat owner preps Margaritaville-themed float for Winterfest parade

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Move over, Rudolph. The macaws are leading one floating Christmas sleigh setting sail during this weekend’s Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade.

7News cameras captured Greg Darby and his crew at Cruisin’ Tikis hard at work in their festive, tiki-topped vessel in Fort Lauderdale, Wednesday.

Darby said he knew pretty quickly who his main influence would be.

“Being a [Jimmy] Buffett fan and a Parrot Head, it didn’t take me long to figure, ‘Oh, we could be ‘Christmas at Margaritaville,’” he said.

And with that, Darby and the rest of his crew got to work.

“Between both tikis, we’ll have about 7,000 lights. We’ve got our local Jimmy Buffett guy, Tommy Bourbon. Tommy’s going to be playing guitar. We’re playing some nice Buffett tunes,” Darby said. “Naturally a ‘5 o’clock Somewhere’ flag flying out back.”

The island vibes on these tikis are just one of the many holiday themes that will set sail on boats and yachts of all sizes as part of the longstanding South Florida holiday tradition.

“It’s become a rite of the fall season going into the holiday season,” said Darby.

To pull all of this off, there has been a lot of hard work and dedication. Darby and his team have worked some 200-plus hours to make sure their floats are the biggest and brightest in the parade.

“We’ve had about six people working all week, and then plus building everything, which is over a month period getting everything ready and tested to make sure it works,” Darby said with a laugh.

While Darby is pretty confident his team’s “Christmas in Margaritaville” float will steal the show, he said he’s just grateful for the opportunity to take part in the annual event.

“It’s fun just doing something like this. We take all of the staff on the tikis when we go,” he said. “It’s team building in a fun way. You know, you get everybody together.”

As South Florida comes together to celebrate the holiday season the best way we know how.

“They’re partying on the shoreline, they’re partying on the boat, the Winterfest Boat Parade party,” Darby said.

The Winterfest Boat Parade begins Saturday at 6:30 p.m. WSVN is proud to be a longtime sponsor.

For more information, including Grandstand tickets, parking, road closures and bridge lockdowns, click here.

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