MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With New Year’s Eve right around the corner, it’s time to get Miami’s Big Orange ready for its big appearance.
On Thursday, the iconic 35-foot wide neon orange will be installed on the side of the Hotel Intercontinental. The Big Orange will begin its ascent of the hotel’s 400-foot wall at 6 p.m. It will reach the top at the stroke of midnight to mark the start of 2018. It will be the Big Orange’s 32nd annual appearance.
The Big Orange was renamed La Gran Naranja for 2013 when the state marked the 500th anniversary of Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon’s arrival in Florida. He was the first person to introduce oranges, or as he called them “naranjas,” to Florida.
Across the street at Bayfront Park, Mr. Worldwide – aka rapper Pitbull – will host a huge party complete with live music and entertainment to help an expected crowd of about 150,000 ring in the new year. Admission is free.
While nothing compares to spending New Year’s Eve in Times Square, the New Year’s Eve celebration at Bayfront Park can claim better weather, more comfort and also a bay side fireworks show.
Most party-goers will take public transportation, but if one wishes to take a car to the event, then it would be important to be in the area by 6 p.m. in order to find parking. The I-95 exit to get to the downtown area will be Exit 2A–Biscayne Boulevard/NE 2nd Avenue. Look for parking around the American Airlines Arena and parking garages close by.
The Metrorail’s main stop for party-goers will be at the Government Center station where they will connect to the Metromover to get off at the Bayfront Park stop. Riders will have to purchase an Easy Card to pay for parking and Metrorail fare. The Metromover is free of charge to ride. For this special event, the mover will come around every 90 seconds. Afterwards, there will be late Metromover service to go back to Government Center and additional trains to take party-goers back to their respective stops.