For nearly four decades, the streets of downtown Orlando would come alive with the year-ending Orlando Citrus Parade. This month, parade organizers announced the end of this signature event.
Spearheaded by Florida Citrus Sports, 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.
It began in 1980 and was traditionally held before New Year’s Day to celebrate bowl games at what is now Camping World Stadium.
Known for its signature citrus floats, decorated with oranges, grapefruits and tangerines, the parade also featured local and national celebrities, theme park characters from Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, and more.
Unfortunately for the non-profit organization, operating costs, which averaged around $400,000 annually, just became too much. Rather than scale back the parade, they decided to end it on a high note.
Of course, never say never. Florida Citrus Sports says they would love to bring the Citrus Parade back if they could find the right sponsors.
Until then, in remembrance of a parade that lit up downtown Orlando every year in shades and smells of citrus, here are photos from the Orlando Citrus Parade in past years:
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