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Greater Fort Lauderdale's African-American Greek Organizations Make Winterfest Boat Parade History


When the 43rd annual Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade sets sail on December 13 th in Greater Fort Lauderdale, The South Broward alumni chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and the Pompano Beach Eta Nu chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity will make history as the first African-American organizations in a featured yacht at the start of one of the top 10 parades in the world.

The Winterfest Boat Parade is a signature tourism event that draws hundreds of thousands of spectators to Fort Lauderdale-Broward County, and is televised internationally each year. The Deltas and Omegas will follow the Seminole Tribe, the event's host and sponsor, in a celebration of Broward County's 100th birthday and the participation of the two organizations highlights Greater Fort Lauderdale's ranking as one of the most culturally-diverse areas in the country.

"Everything we do is about community partnerships and relationship building," said Albert Tucker, vice president Multicultural Business Development for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. "We are able to create events to make them special for groups and that the CVB supports economically, as well."

The participation of these two venerable Black Greek organizations highlights the successful impact of multicultural tourism promoted by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB), where relationships are developed and nurtured to enhance the area's appeal as a top destination for influential African-American groups. National and regional leadership will be on the Lady Windridge yacht when the parade takes off, joined by key tourism industry representatives and leaders of organizations such as the National Association of Black Accountants

"Last year was wonderful and we were sold out and we wanted a bigger and different flair this year with our brothers, the Omegas," said Cassandra Joseph, president of the South Broward alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, which is hosting the event with the Pompano Beach Eta Nu chapter of Omega Psi Phi. "It's not just about the boat parade. It's about partnering and networking and bringing in people from out of state and filling hotels. Benefiting the economy is one of our thrusts."

A ride in the Boat Parade is the centerpiece of a fun-filled Soul Train Yacht Party and Destination Weekend of parties and entertainment Dec. 12-14 which are open to the public. Ticket packages for the four events are $200 and hotel packages are also available. Proceeds benefit both organizations' scholarship funds and community service projects.  For tickets and information, visit www.dstsouthbroward.org .

As the GFLCVB moves forward from Winterfest into 2015, new initiatives are planned that align tourism with economic development. The annual conference of the National Urban League comes to Greater Fort Lauderdale for the first time in July 2015 and plans are underway to make Greater Fort Lauderdale the headquarters for the American Tennis Association (ATA), the country's oldest Black sports organization.

Black Greek organizations, along with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) are coming onboard with support for the tennis project with assistance with fundraising, generating awareness and supporting member attendance at events such as the ATA National Championships. The Winterfest Boat Parade represents one of the unique experiences provided to groups by the GFLCVB.   

For more information, please visit www.sunny.org/multicultural .

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