The seaside location of Sea Cavalcade and its predecessors meant that many events took place on the waters of the Shoal Channel. The “World’s Largest” Tugboat Race (pictured above) was a Sea Cavalcade staple for the first 10 years of the festivities. The infamous ‘Boat Blow-Up’ began in 1970, when a run-down boat was set up with explosives. These were two of the most popular events until both were cancelled in 1979, as captains of the tugboats were met with insurance difficulties and the boat blast resulted in shattered windows from the Bluff to Granthams. However, the special effects crew of ‘The Beachcombers’ brought the revival of the ‘Boat Blow-Up’ in 1981, using fewer explosives. This event remained a crowd favourite until it was cancelled again in recent years.
Another signature Sea Cavalcade event that has withstood the test of time is the crowning of the Sea Cavalcade Queen (also known as 'Miss Sea Cavalcade' or ‘Royal’) and princess. In early years, young women representing local businesses or organizations would compete for the title. Another title, “Sea Cavalcade Golden Girl”, was first awarded in 1987. This title focuses on recognizing women who have contributed to improving the quality of life on the Sunshine Coast.