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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Sunday will officially kick off the New Year, but before the City of Miami welcomes 2012, it’s making sure the Big Orange is ready for its annual ride to the top of the Intercontinental Hotel.

“The Big Orange has been a tradition and actually this is the 25th anniversary so we’ve been establishing the brand name of Miami throughout all of these years and this year it’s going to be free,” said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.

On Wednesday morning, workers tested the 35 foot neon sign to make sure everything is working properly. This year is especially important. Miami’s iconic Big Orange celebrates its 25th anniversary, with a new animated face.

One of the main themes of this year’s celebration is ‘Booyah, Bulla, Booyaka’ which is a Spanish-Caribbean phrase which means ‘Make Noise.’

“It all means surprise and excitement and so we’re going to welcome with that fanfare and have that parade around the Intercontinental area where we have our stage and that will be the welcoming of the orange,” said Cornelia ‘Corky” Dozier of the Greater Miami Host Committee.

The Big Orange was conceived during the Orange Bowl Parade days. Branded “The Times Square of the South” for the celebration of the Millennium, “The Big Orange” attracts an audience of some 150,000 locals and visitors who prefer ringing in the New Year with a forecast of a slightly breezy 70 degrees.

“It’s different from Times Square because it goes up instead of going down. We might not be Times Square but the weather will be much better,” said Mayor Regalado.

The festivities will begin New Year’s Eve at 5:00 p.m. with the Mayor’s Launch, followed by a new laser show, live musical entertainment and the iconic raising of the Big Orange, 400 feet to the top of the Intercontinental Hotel followed by a display of fireworks over beautiful Biscayne Bay.

The free celebration takes place at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.


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