With the fall season leading soon to winter – and hopefully another polar vortex to spur sales from the Northeast — Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale C&VB, invited an audience of media and their kids to say, “Goodbye Chilly, Hello Sunny” in Fort Lauderdale.
She was in New York City August 21, 2014 at one of our favorite family window-shopping venues, Dylan’s Candy Bar, to promote the destination where, she claims, almost every one of the 1.8 million residents has a relative who lives in New York.
Despite an official biography which cites accolades such as “Top 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry,” “100 Most Powerful Women in Tourism” and ”Top 25 Marketing Minds,” I could quickly tell that Ms. Grossman’s favorite title is Nana.
And within minutes of greeting her guests, she invited her New York-based grandchildren up to the podium to share what they loved most about visiting Fort Lauderdale, whispering, “Don’t tell them it’s visiting Nana.”
The youngest of her eight grandchildren, 6-year-old Maddox, shared how many fish, small birds and even eagle nests he’d seen when out fishing with his dad, perhaps along the 300 miles of inland waterways that Fort Lauderdale maintains.
When 13-year-old Juliet took the mic she talked about Sublime, her favorite vegan restaurant (and Sir Paul McCartney agrees, though she’s probably too young to know who he is.) It serves fried cauliflower and gives a portion of profits to animal causes, she noted. In addition to many of the county’s nature preserves and parks, Juliet also likes to visit Butterfly World when she’s in Florida.
At 15, Isabella most likes learning about the sea turtles that nest on local beaches, and going to the Hollywood Broadwalk to watch them. Shopping at the huge Sawgrass Mills Mall, the Hawaiian-themed Mai Kai Restaurant which has been doing its Polynesian Islander Revue since the 50s and, of course, the big Hard Rock Hotel and Casino which reminds her of Las Vegas, are all fun places to go too.
Ms. Grossman then shared her bureau’s own Funtinerary (read here) which includes three days of non-stop family fun. Although we agree that Lauderdale has always been a fun family destination, not all of Broward County’s 13.4 million visitors last year were families, or even PANKS (professional aunts no kids) or PUNKS (professional uncles no kids.) She noted that Fort Lauderdale was also popular with couples, singles, students, lesbians and gays, and was not as well recognized by same sex couples with kids as she would like. “The rainbow flag flies loud and proud in Broward County,” she’s said before, and as pioneers in marketing to the LGBT traveler, Broward County enjoyed a record-breaking 1.3 million gay visitors in 2013.
Winter is high season at the popular beach destination but in fact, Fort Lauderdale attracts families year round with many of its events and festivals. Sports teams play throughout the year including the Fort Lauderdale Strikers soccer franchise (April-November) and the NHL Florida Panthers (October-April). Of course, there are plenty of holiday events such as Christmas on Las Olas (last Tuesday in November) – the main shopping street — and the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade (Second Saturday in December). In February you can sign up for the Fort Lauderdale A1A Fun Run Kid’s Race held along the oceanfront Beach Blvd. or go retro weekends at the Florida Renaissance Festival and Camelot Days.
Meanwhile, we know the city’s Two-for-One Summer Promotion is valid through September 30, with 13 day trips and tours available at half price. To find out what else is going on or share some love with Nana, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit Sunny.org.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.