By Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read October 2019 — The Broward County community is spoiled for choice when it comes to events in the area, as there is seemingly something happening every week, even in winter. The seventh-largest spectator event in Florida is the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade, to be held this year on Dec. 12. Invest: spoke with President and CEO of Winterfest Inc Lisa Scott-Founds about the importance of innovation to the event, how they ensure safety and the role the Boat Parade plays in the tourism economy of Broward County.
How important is consistent innovation to the success of the event?
We always want to integrate the newest technology into our event, like the use of holograms, which we hope is a real possibility for this year. As a nonprofit organization, we are always searching for unique additions to our event that are not cost-prohibitive. We are always asking people, “What is something that you’ve never seen us do before?” We take their suggestion, develop a budget to execute the idea and bring it to our board and possible sponsors to help with underwriting the “new wow-factor idea.” It’s amazing what can happen when you bring together creative minds and supporters in the business community. The entertainment value is the most important element for our success to ensure we continue to be the “Greatest Show on H2O” and the seventh-largest spectator event in the state of Florida.
How do you ensure safety at an event like Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade?
We work with all our law enforcement officials — the United States Coast Guard, Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Lauderdale Marine Patrol, Fort Lauderdale Police Department and the Fire Department. When putting on an event of this caliber, safety is the No. 1 priority. Those who participate in the parade are educated on all our safety procedures. We send them messages on a daily basis to always be conscious of how important it is to keep safety first when you are on the water. As a parade on water, Winterfest needs to have proper procedures in place. Unlike a land parade; you can’t just hit a brake on a boat to stop. Spectators within our Grandstand viewing area see signs directed toward their safety as well.
What role does the Boat Parade play in the tourism market within Broward County?
There is nothing like the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade in the entire world. The beginning of December is a little slower for tourism, as opposed to other months when tourism in South Florida sees a boom, so we feel a responsibility to bring people into the region and put heads in beds. Our success is due to collaboration with organizations like our Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau and working with area hotels. Tourists should experience a Winterfest weekend, a show at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, eat at our restaurants and immerse themselves in our community. There is just so much to do in Fort Lauderdale, and in Broward County for that matter.
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