Dec 07 - Dec 07, 2019

PBHBP: Reflecting on 25 Years with Former MIAPBC Board President Tim Oenbrink

On December 7, over 70 vessels will showcase their holiday spirit and over 10,000 toys for Toys for Tots and Little Smiles will be collected in the 25th Palm Beach Holiday Boat Parade (PBHBP) and 20th “On The Water” Toy Drive, both hosted by the MIAPBC.

We recently caught up with Tim Oenbrink (Merritt Supply), former MIAPBC Board President and PBHBP Committee Member to reflect on the event’s history. Tim has spent countless hours working on the event over the years, starting when it was previously run through West Palm Beach. “It was a great platform to give back to the community while at the same time promoting boating and the marine industry,” Tim says.

The event has grown each year, and is expected to break records in 2019. Tim remembers when the parade was split into two parades. Panic spread due to only 7 boats being signed up for the parade one week before it was scheduled to take place. Fellow organizers considered cancelling the event. Tim responded, “seven boats is a small parade but it’s still a parade, right?” They decided to continue in their preparation for the parade and do everything they could to make it enjoyable for participants and attendees. After spending the entire week calling every friend and boater they knew, begging them to participate, they were able to get a total of 17 to participate and had a great show.

The toy collection event is one of the most cherished parts of the PBHBP, but it wasn’t a part of the event from the start. Tim is one of the former board members responsible for the strong bond that has formed between the Palm Beach Holiday Boat Parade and Toys for Tots.

Tim reflects on how the idea came to be to partner with Toys for Tots:
“We always had an early follow-up meeting every year shortly after the parade to discuss how we could improve it. A few days before the committee meeting, I heard a radio press release that Toys for Tots donations had been down for the year. I immediately had a vision of Toys for Tots collection by water during our parade. I mentioned it in our committee meeting and everyone loved the idea! With the help of our committee chair Amy Tolderlund and an army of volunteers, our Toys for Tots collections have grown to be the largest contributor to the event in the country. Who could have ever predicted this? I am so proud to have been a part of PBHBP Toys for Tots!”

In 2018, the PBHBP helped Toys for Tots and Little Smiles collect over 11,000 toys. Tim calls the event special because of the impact it has on these organizations and because it “promotes family boating and the marine industry during the holidays.”

The MIAPBC is seeking sponsors to join us for this historic edition of the PBHBP. Sponsorship packages are currently available for businesses interested in supporting the event and gaining exposure to the tens of thousands of people who will interact with the event both in-person and online. “It is a highly viewed event that also includes the warm fuzzies that the Toys for Tots drive brings to the table,” Tim says in response to why businesses should get involved.

To all of those who have participated in the 25-year history of the PBHBP, Tim would like to say “THANK YOU!” Our team here at the MIAPBC would also like to thank Tim for his contributions to the event and all current and former board members and volunteers who have made this parade possible.

To get involved in the 25th PBHBP and 20th On The Water Toy Drive, email, or call (561) 863-0012. View available sponsorship opportunities here:

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