Florida Citrus Parade
Started in 1980, the parade was previously known as the Florida Power (Progress Energy) Super Holiday Parade, the Orlando Citrus Parade, and most recently the Fresh From Florida Parade. In 2005, Delta Air Lines sponsored the parade, being called The Orlando Citrus Parade, presented by Delta Air Lines. Since 2007, Spherion was a major sponsor of the parade along with Delta Air Lines as co-sponsor, being called The Spherion Orlando Citrus Parade, presented by Delta Air Lines. In 2011, the parade was sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, being renamed as the Fresh From Florida Parade for one year.
The Florida Citrus Parade is an event which is planned and produced by The Florida Citrus Sports Foundation, as part of the annual Orlando Bowl Week. The event is placed in between the college football games during the last week in December.
The parade is videotaped and syndicated to over 100 television stations for broadcast during the New Year's Day Holiday; TVS Television Network handles distribution. The parade can be seen in the USA as well internationally. Visitors to the parade can number over 50,000 along the parade route.
The parade consists of both high school and Bowl-attending university marching bands from the Big Ten Conference and Southeastern Conference, along with theme park characters from Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. Also, local and national celebrities participates in the event. The main features are the citrus-themed floats. These floats are decorated with citrus fruits in a similar style to the Lemon Festival in Menton, France. They also follow the tradition of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. However, instead of decorating the floats with petals, they are decorated with oranges, grapefruits and tangerines.
The citrus floats are prepared and filled by over 600 volunteers who give their time during the 4 days between December 26 and 29. Then, generally on December 30 of every year (In rare occasions, the parade is done on the 29th, because December 30 is a Sunday, or 31 December, if the Capital One Bowl football game comes on January 2), the streets of Downtown Orlando are packed with visitors from other places who come to see their high school marching band and the marching bands for the two universities which will have the match up at the Capital One Bowl that year.