MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The countdown to 2014 is underway and preparations have begun to ring in the new year, South Florida style.

In Fort Lauderdale, crews have begun transforming southwest second street into the Orange Bowl downtown countdown!

Touted as one of the largest New Year’s Eve celebrations in Florida, this year’s free street festival is full of fun and excitement for both children and adults.  The city closes off the street between Southwest Second Avenue and Southwest Fifth Avenue so revelers can roam about freely and safely.  The highlight of the night is the lighted ball that drops at midnight.

The park area next to the Performing Arts Center is filled with bounce houses and other activities for young children.

“It’s just a fun night and brings the community together,” says Mayor Jack Seiler who will be there with his four kids he says.”You’ll have Ohio state people out here, Clemson people, last year the Florida State marching band came in as a surprise so it’s a lot of fun!”

Resident Fred Witt says he has brought his son to ring in the New Year.

“There’s a lot of bounce houses. It’s fun for the kids.”

The streets are closed to traffic.  Restaurant manager Scott Kurzawinski says the celebrations rival Times Square.

“It’s very compact.  We’ll have between five and ten thousand people.  It will pack a punch.

The same is true in Miami where partygoers can ring in the New Year at Bayfront Park.

The famous and free event caters to families with live music and food.

The highlight of the night is watching the big Orange rise to squeeze out 2013.

At the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood they are expecting at least 15,000 people to celebrate the New Year with dinner, dancing, live bands, dj’s and more. Michelle Shaw, visiting from Louisville, said the Hard Rock has it all.

“(It’s) just a lot of fun and you never know what you’re gonna see here,” she said. “Just great entertainers and things just show up.”

On Miami Beach, they are preparing for live music to kick off at 9 pm with fireworks at midnight. Darrelle Speece said he plans to hang with friends and he’s hopeful for a fruitful and fulfilling 2014.

“Focus on lifelong things that I’m doing — my businesses and my health and my family,” he said. “Trying to make my relationship with family a lot better.”


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