25th Annual PBHBP Exceeds Expectations and Brings Holiday Cheer to 250,000 Spectators, Thousands of Toys to Families in Need
Palm Beach County’s premier boating industry event of the holiday season took place on December 7th. The 25th Annual Palm Beach Holiday Boat Parade lit up the Intracoastal Waterway and spread holiday cheer to an estimated 250,000 spectators. Spectators viewed the parade from house parties, restaurants, local parks, bridges and other secret spots along the Intracoastal Waterway. The Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County (MIAPBC) produced and hosted the event, which is held simultaneously with the On the Water Toy Drive.
On the day of the event alone over 7,000 toys were collected and $5,000 was raised. Toys, which will benefit both Toys for Tots and Little Smiles, will continue to be collected until December 20th. The MIAPBC is attempting to beat last year’s record of over 11,000 gifts collected and is asking the Palm Beach community to continue to support the drive through local drop-off locations. It’s the volunteers from local neighborhoods, schools, businesses, and Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County members who contribute their time, energy, and their hearts that make this happen.
The parade was led by a Zambelli moving fireworks display and featured a total of 54 decorated vessels. The parade was free to enter and included a wide range of vessels and styles of decorations. Decorated boats that wowed fans included a Christmas-themed dinosaur, nativity scene, Santa’s sleigh, a nautical-themed Santa Claus, and much more. Each vessel that was part of the event can be viewed by visiting the PBHBP official Facebook page.
The event is a favorite of the Palm Beach community and is a collaborative effort. “We want to thank our amazing sponsors who made the parade and the country’s largest toy collection event for Toys for Tots possible,” says Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County (MIAPBC) Executive Director Alyssa Freeman. “Local businesses, individuals, and organizations contributed to help this family-friendly, free event continue to spread holiday cheer throughout Palm Beach County.”
Although the boat parade was free to enter, participating groups competed for approximately $10,000 in cash and prizes. The coveted Best of Parade award was given to The Cornelius, which had an elaborate display that included an attached sleigh. There were four divisions. The Under 25’ Division came down to Teazer Too (1st), Suits Us Too (2nd), and Robalo (3rd). The 25’-35’ division was led by The Liscomb with Hey Julia and Getting Fishy coming in second and third respectively. The largest vessels in the parade qualified for the over 35’ division. Honu took first place with Freedom Tender coming in second and Never Say Never finishing third in the division. Vessels decorated by local businesses and organizations also participated and competed in the corporate category. The division was won by Dee Queen II, who narrowly beat out Food Yacht (2nd) and The Detail Dude (3rd). A prize of $500 was also awarded in the Fan Favorite competition. The winner, Pursuit of Happiness, received the most likes among the hundreds of interactions and shares from fans and attendees.
“We consider this year’s historic parade to be the best yet, and we were pleasantly surprised with the large turnout,” states Freeman. “The MIAPBC appreciates the support of the Palm Beach recreational boating communities, and we look forward to producing another successful parade and toy drive in 2020.”