Florida New Year
If you’re not living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the New Year’s Eve tradition in Times Square. While many people gather around the TV to watch the big, glittering ball of lights descend over Manhattan each year, some Floridians have unique traditions, such as dropping beach balls, oranges, or even possums. Let’s take a closer look at some of these quirky New Year’s Eve celebrations exclusive to Floridians.
Does Florida have a ball drop?
Preparing the 550-pound sphere that marks the start of the new year on Main Street in Daytona Beach, Florida, takes months of work. The state has several unique ball drops to celebrate the occasion. For instance, some cities, like Daytona Beach, drop a ball of lights in the middle of town at midnight. But other cities have more tailor-made options, like dropping an orange or a beach ball.
Miami, which recently ranked as the sixth-best city in the US to spend New Year’s Eve, used to have one of the most unique ball drops in the country. A 30-foot, 2,000-pound neon sign of an orange wearing sunglasses used to make a 400-foot trek to the top of the InterContinental Hotel before dropping at midnight. However, the physical orange ball has not been dropped since 2020. A virtual projection has taken its place now.
Panama City Beach allows families to celebrate New Year’s Eve early with an 8 p.m. ball drop at Pier Park. In this event, the town gathers to witness an 800-pound beach ball drop from Celebration Tower. The ball is dropped from a height 10 feet taller than the pole that holds the ball in Manhattan.
Where can you celebrate New Year’s in Florida?
Two Florida cities, Orlando and Miami, have been named among the top 10 best cities in the US for celebrating New Year’s Eve, according to WalletHub. Orlando has secured the first position on the list, while Miami is ranked sixth. Orlando has been recognized for its wide range of entertainment options, including fireworks in front of the iconic Cinderella Castle, clubbing and affordable restaurants rated 4.5 stars or higher. The city also scored the highest in categories such as the legality of fireworks and nightlife. Meanwhile, Miami’s diverse dining options have helped it secure its position, ranking first in the “restaurants per capita” category.