ORLANDO, Fla. – An annual tradition marched its way through downtown Orlando, getting the community excited for the Citrus Bowl game.
The Orlando Citrus Parade is a crowd favorite during college bowl game season in Central Florida. Jack Regular said he never misses a parade.
“That’s my special seat. I come early to get this seat on the corner every year,” Regular said.
The parade made its way through downtown Orlando Saturday morning. This year’s spectacle is bigger than ever, featuring new balloons and floats. Marching bands from across the nation performed. Parade officials said more than 3,000 volunteers and participants were involved in the parade.
Volunteers spent days carefully threading thousands of oranges, tangerines and grapefruits onto six floats.
“I can’t wait for the smell,” Linda Hanes said.
Hanes is visiting Orlando from Ohio. She is in town to watch her daughter perform with the Kentucky Wildcats band.
“We can’t beat the chance to come to warmer weather,” Hanes said.
The Wildcats are taking on the Penn State Nittany Lions in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day at Camping World Stadium.
Greg Frey is also happy to ring in the new year in Central Florida rather than back home in Pennsylvania.
“It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dreary. It’s winter. It’s better to be here,” Frey said. “We’re excited to be down here in Florida and enjoy the warm weather.”
The parade is also getting results. For the first time, it is supporting the Give Kids the World Village, a nonprofit resort that helps provide free vacations to children with critical illnesses and their families.
Crowds lined up and down Orange Avenue to enjoy all of the sights, sounds, and free candy. The parade is kicking off bowl activities for many fans and getting them excited for the big game.
All of the fruit on the floats will be donated to local food banks.
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