Florida Citrus Sports Cancels Orlando Citrus Parade After 39-Year Run
By Space Coast Daily // October 3, 2019
'we can no longer justify the investment needed based on the level of return delivered'
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – This year Orlando’s bowl games won’t include the tradition of the Orlando Citrus Parade after Florida Citrus Sports announced this week that the organization is ending the parade after 39 years.
“It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of appreciation that we have made the decision to discontinue staging the Orlando Citrus Parade after 39 years,” said Florida Citrus Sports officials.
“One of only a handful of remaining bowl game parades in America, the Citrus Parade played a special role in our organization’s development, and we are proud of its rich history and the memories generated for so many throughout Central Florida over the past four decades.
“However, as an impact-focused organization committed to driving exposure and attracting visitors, we can no longer justify the investment needed based on the level of return delivered for our community.”
The Orlando Citrus Parade was an annual Central Florida tradition from 1980-2018.
Held on the streets of Downtown Orlando before New Year’s Day, the event featured marching bands from high schools across the country as well as the participating Big Ten and SEC universities in the Citrus Bowl, making the event one of the largest sports-affiliated parades in the nation.
Known for its signature citrus floats — decorated with oranges, grapefruits and tangerines in the style of the Lemon Festival in Menton, France or the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California — the parade also featured local and national celebrities, theme park characters from Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando and more.
Featured guests included Arnold Palmer, Grant Hill, Justin Gatlin, Lou Holtz, Lisa Leslie, Shawn Johnson, Joey Fatone, Florence Henderson and many others.
The Florida Citrus Parade is an annual parade in Orlando, Florida which celebrates the holidays and two annual college football bowl games: the Camping World Bowl and the Citrus Bowl.
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, calling it 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. Now it is known as the Florida Citrus Parade.
The Florida Citrus Parade is an event that 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 was previously videotaped and syndicated to over 100 television stations for broadcast during the New Year’s Day Holiday; TVS Television Network handles distribution. 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 four days between December 26 and 29.
Then, generally on the last week of December of every year, 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 Citrus Bowl that year.