Kayaking a Parade of Lights (Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade).

South Florida’s Holiday Tradition!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights Rudolph Santa Panoramic Flex Maslan

I’m just sitting here in my kayak watching the boats go round and round.
Ft Lauderdale Seminole Winterfest Boat parade panorama.
CLICK for superwide full screen VR panoramic!

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If there’s one (and I mean THE one!) “local” Ft. Lauderdale annual tradition it has to be the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade.  It is the largest single event not just in town, but in all of Florida, and one of the largest in the USA, drawing a million estimated spectators along a 12 mile route!!  This really is the one time that folks get together with Holiday cheer and become a part of a bigger picture which bridges across  all the socioeconomic boundaries that are otherwise pervasive in South Florida life. Still going strong after more than 40 years, the event usually takes place on the second Saturday in Decemeber, and is later televised on local TV station WSVN-7.  If you’d like, there are often organized group outings where you can watch it from the seat of YOUR OWN kayak from the sidelines.

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Perspective from the water – watching the Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade procession. It’s the best seat in the house!
CLICK for fun interactive panorama – try it on your iPhone!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Parade route paddled on the New River and Intracoastal Waterway.
Downtown Ft Lauderdale to Sunrise Blvd (and back!)

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Holiday decorations on a waterfront mansion in Ft Lauderdale.

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While it’s always a treat to watch the parade procession from the sidelines, it’s a whole another dimension to be actually be a part of it by kayaking the route! Just as with larger vessels, the kayaks each get decorated with Christmas and Holidays spirit eye-candy, sometimes with a group theme, occasionally even with a sound system on board!

I’ve been paddling this parade for over 20 years, starting in the mid 90’s. Many thanks go out to Chuck and Jeff of the ol’ Waterways Kayak and KayakJeff shops, and especially the South Florida Kayaking Meetup group for putting things together and organizing paddles of the route!

This is a compilation of several years of parade runs.

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

HAPPY ELECTROLUMINESCENT HOLIDAYS!

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The Winterfest organizers have put all the muscle-powered craft (kayaks, canoes, outriggers, dragon boats, SUPs & rowers) up front, leading the pack, and in fact the entire parade has started with us for several years now!! 🙂

This makes a lot of sense from a planning and safety standpoint. The kayaks are usually dressed the day before, sometimes there are more lights, sometimes more decorations, but always fun!  As for lights, I’ve been using an LED stern light for safety (required), with smaller marker lights up front. Electroluminescent (EL) wire lights are more elaborate and not a bad choice, though they have been superseded by waterproof LED lights in recent years. You can take a look at the use of these EL wire lights at paddling the Boca Raton Holiday Boat Parade.

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Dressing up kayaks, sombrero optional.

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Some very formal kayaks indeed!

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Flex Maslan Kayak Winterfest Boat Parade kayakfari Christmas lights Devo ft lauderdale 80s Holidays photography 2018

Presenting the 2018 Ft Lauderdale Winterfest Boat Parade DEVO kayaking crew!
Whipped It Good – Winterfest Boat Parade 2018!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Holiday decorations – Florida style.

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December is a great time to night paddle around the New River and downtown Ft Lauderdale area because most of the waterfront homes and mansions are decked out with all kinds of lights and props, some animated & quite elaborate. This is the (South) Floridian Christmas! A good launch location for this is at the Cooley’s Landing boat ramps or further up north at George English Park by the tennis courts.

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Holiday decorations along the Ft Lauderdale waterfront.

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

This the Season for Holiday spirit!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Dressed up at the start of the Winterfest Holiday Boat Parade!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Paddle to Paradise .. tonight?
Winterfest Holiday Boat Parade flashback to 2008!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Excited! 🙂

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It’s exciting being in with the action waiting for the parade to start. There’s an energy in the air and a build-up, kinda like before a show .. and we are part of the entertainment! 😉

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Is it really snowing in Ft Lauderdale ?

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For kayakers, this kind of a trip can present many challenges. Sometimes you get rained on hard, sometimes it’s really windy and your boat is a chore to handle. Sometimes people capsize, once there was an infamous spill due to a very low flying Coast Guard helicopter.. other times you may be called upon to help rescue/recover someone who flipped. Sometimes you get turned away by police, sometimes you even find romance kayak to kayak.. you never know what surprises the evening will present you with! In all cases, you have to be prepared to sit in your kayak for several hours (don’t drink too much ..lol) and paddle at a good fast pace and mind all the other boaters on the water.

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Paddling the Winterfest Holiday Boat Parade in full formal attire!
Photo courtesy: winterfestparade.com

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

A very colorful bow display on this kayak!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

“Dancing through the Decades” theme.

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Day-glo colors, glowsticks and EL wire lighting up our kayak flotilla!

More pics from 2011 parade event here

kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays Santa

Have you been a good boy / girl ? (choose  one)

Spreading the Holiday Cheers to YOU!  🙂

kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

This midget albino Reindeer keeps tailing me, must like my sombrero!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Idle speed with lots of traffic on this night!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Whitney in formal kayaking attire (South Florida Kayak Meetup).

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Doctor Jekyll / Mr Hyde or Ted’s just a crazy guy!

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The quality of all the boat decorations is always outstanding – folks put in a lot of time, effort and money$ to make their vessel stand out! What’s really nice, is that if you’ve spent any amount of time boating on the local waters, you will recognize many of the familiar working vessels! Each year though it seems there are fewer & fewer truly large boats and barges, possibly due to changing of the route a while back or the economy. Boats used to line up in Port Everglades and start right by the 17th street bridge, it was all in the intracoastal & the TV coverage was at Sunrise Boulevard bridge. Now all boats line up downtown & the news coverage is from the historic Stranahan House downtown along the New River.

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays Rudolph Santa Panoramic

Winterfest Boat Parade procession from the seat of my kayak.

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Compared to power boaters, we are highly mobile in the kayaks and take full advantage by getting up close to the crowds! Sometimes they go wild when they see us coming around a bend, and liberal use of safety whistles and air horns really gets everybody going for a bit! It’s moments like these that will last a lifetime.. !

Of course interacting with the crowds  really helps to spread Holidays cheers and spirit..

Feliz Navidad, everybody is on the same vibe!! 🙂

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Flex Maslan Kayak Winterfest Boat Parade kayakfari Christmas lights Devo ft lauderdale 80s Holidays photography 2018 Howie Grapek

Are we not paddlers? We are DEVO !!
Image from GRAPEK Photography Online used by permission.
Whipped It Good – Winterfest Boat Parade 2018!

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Here’s a fun video from Welsh Media Productions:

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

There’s that nosy Reindeer again.

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

My whistle, it comforts me; disturbs others.. up close & personal with the crowd, spreading the cheer!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Parading through the Decadence!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

This boat probably had the loudest sound system that year.

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Spay, Neuter or euthanize your pets .. ( j/k)

 

kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays Rudolph

Rudolph playing it safe. 😉

 

kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Rockin’ it out at Sunsrise Blvd .. from the seat of my kayak.

 

kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Small section of a happy crowd!

 

kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Ho ho ho ..

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Due to time constraints, logistics and traffic we usually paddle up towards Sunrise Blvd, sometimes go a little bit further north. Just south of Sunrise is a cove which turns into one of the largest viewing areas for boaters who anchor here. This is also the spot where most of the kayak “viewing” trips go to raft up, having launched nearby at George English Park .

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Happy Holidays Christmas Santa

HAPPY HOLIDAYS everybody! 🙂

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays

Holiday Cheers group photo from the Waterways Kayak crowd circa 1998!

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“Interstellar Paddlers”
Kayakfari ART photography – ART of Darkness series.
CLICK to enter!

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Sometimes it’s just fun to sit back and enjoy the show – from the seat of a kayak or canoe, of course!

The South Florida Kayaking Meetup group sometimes organizes a short paddle to watch the parade from the sidelines along the New River in Ft Lauderdale.

It’s the BEST seat in the house!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade Ft Lauderdale Florida flex maslan kayakfari.com kayak canoe photo panorama

Watching the Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade procession from kayaks.
CLICK for interactive panorama!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade Ft Lauderdale Florida flex maslan kayakfari.com kayak canoe photo

On the New River in Ft Lauderdale, watching the Winterfest Boat Parade. Peace!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade Ft Lauderdale Florida flex maslan kayakfari.com kayak canoe photo

Goodyear Blimp hovers over the Winterfest Boat Parade procession.

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade Ft Lauderdale Florida flex maslan kayakfari.com kayak canoe photo

From the water at the Winterfest Boat Parade.

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I have a lot of fun doing some experimental night photography from a kayak at the Winterfest Boat Parade.

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade Ft Lauderdale Florida flex maslan kayakfari.com kayak canoe photo

Beautifully decorated boats in the parade!

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade Ft Lauderdale Florida flex maslan kayakfari.com kayak canoe photo

Rudolph and his girl – intricate lights and decorations.
Ft Lauderdale Winterfest Boat Parade.

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade Ft Lauderdale Florida flex maslan kayakfari.com kayak canoe photo

Port Everglades tug in the Winterfest Boat Parade.

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade Ft Lauderdale Florida flex maslan kayakfari.com kayak canoe photo allamericankayak

Kayak Erica having fun at the Winterfest Boat Parade! 🙂

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade Ft Lauderdale Florida flex maslan kayakfari.com kayak canoe photo

Yes, it takes time .. when Santa Claws is paddling to town! 🙂

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kayakfari Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade kayak lights ft lauderdale Flex Maslan photography miami paddle Holidays smurf tree rolling

Happy Holidays from kayakfari.
Stay on top of things!

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The Holiday Cheer – it does not stop!

CLICK below and check out the Boca Raton Holiday Boat Parade:

kayakfari.com Boca Raton Holiday kayakfari Parade kayak flex maslan lights night boat photo winterfest

CLICK for story on Kayaking the Boca Raton Holiday Boat Parade!

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Wishing you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season. All the best !!!

kayakfari-Peace-Holidays-art

“Peace on Earth” – from Kayakfari ART.

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© 2012 – 2021 Flex Maslan / kayakfari.com / awakenthegrass.com. All original photographs, artworks and music in this portfolio are copyrighted and owned by the artist, Flex Maslan, unless otherwise noted. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.

All rights reserved!

DISCLAIMER::

The maps and images on this site are not intended for navigation, I am not a guide; use any and all information at your own risk! Your mileage may vary .. so use good judgement before venturing out!

I hereby disclaim any sponsorship, endorsement, nor association with any product or service described herein. The photographs, depictions, products, and ideas presented on this site are for informational purposes only. Your results may vary, and I do not imply nor guarantee the effectiveness, suitability, design or operation to adhere to any standard. I assume no legal responsibility for the implementation of anything herein presented! Use any and all information at your own risk! By using any and all information from this website, you accept the final liability for any use or possible associated misuse!

With that said..
Blessings friends!

 

🙂

14 comments on “Kayaking a Parade of Lights (Seminole Winterfest Boat Parade).

  1. Pingback: HAPPY PADDLING HOLIDAYS ! | kayakfari ( kayak .. far .. i )

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  9. I loved this page!!!! I am trying to organize an event like this here in my city, of course, not so big, but inviting some friends to put Lights on our kayaks and paddle around the edge of the city. I hoje you do not mind but I got some pics from here to use as example, I loved them all! 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you for your interest! Happy Holidays!! 🙂
      Actually, you’ll note that ALL my content is copyrighted. Notice from the page:
      © 2012-2015 Flex Maslan / kayakfari.com / digital029art.com. All original photographs, artworks and music in this portfolio are copyrighted and owned by the artist, Flex Maslan, unless otherwise noted. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.

      All rights reserved!

      What this means is that NO, you can NOT use ANY of my images for your use. However, you can of course link to the (entire) page and share the link:

      https://kayakfari.wordpress.com/trips-sea-stories-pics/kayaking-a-parade-of-lights-seminole-winterfest-boat-parade/

      Also you can also tag/share images through Pinterest and the like. Why? Because the image links back to my site, and that’s a part of the deal.

      Thanks for your understanding!

      Flex Maslan
      http://www.kayakfari.com

      Like

  10. Pingback: Lights, boats and Happy Holidays – Rejoice the paddling trips of Season’s past! | kayakfari ( kayak .. far .. i )

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  13. Pingback: Test paddling the Pompano Beach Holiday Boat Parade with 2020 in hindsight. | kayakfari ( kayak .. far .. i )

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