Orlando Citrus Parade ready to roll Thursday

ORLANDO, Fla. - The 24th Annual Orlando Citrus Parade, the nation's second largest "sports-affiliated parade," will be held on Thursday, Dec. 30 beginning at 11:00 a.m. in Downtown Orlando.

A rapidly growing Orlando Citrus Parade tradition is the floats made entirely of Florida Citrus fruit.  This year's parade will include five citrus floats, which took more than 80,000 pieces of citrus to create. Volunteers spent several days creating the masterpieces, attaching the oranges, grapefruits and tangerines to the floats using rubber bands to create the visually stunning floats.  Following the parade, all fruit is carefully removed and donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank.
 
More than 50 entries are expected, including the marching bands from Capital One Bowl participating schools LSU and the University of Iowa.  An athlete will represent each school in the parade.  Former Hawkeye and Kansas City Chiefs great Ed Podolak will lead off for the  University of Iowa band, while All-American center Ben Wilkerson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in October, will represent the LSU Tigers.   In addition, 14 high school bands, impressive equestrian units, and magical entries from Orlando's world famous theme parks will participate in the two-hour extravaganza.
 
This year's Grand Marshal is Captain Winston Scott (USN, retired), Executive Director of the Florida Space Authority.  Captain Scott, a highly decorated naval aviator, was selected to be an Astronaut for NASA in 1992.  He flew on two space shuttle missions, logging more than 24 days in space – including three space walks totaling more than 19 hours.  A distinguished officer with more than 30 years experience in aerospace, aviation and education, Captain Scott has logged more than 5,000 hours of flying time in 20 different military and civilian aircrafts and has made more than 200 shipboard landings.
 
This two-mile long parade, themed "Greetings from Orlando" begins at the corner of Orange Avenue and Robinson Street, proceeds south on Orange Avenue, turns left on Anderson Street, takes another left on Rosalind Street, winds past Lake Eola and finishes back at Robinson Street.
 
Curbside viewing of the parade is free and it is recommended that spectators arrive early as more than 80,000 parade fans are expected to line the parade route.
 
A nationally syndicated television broadcast of the parade is scheduled to air in more than 100 markets during the next four days.   Please visit www.fcsports.com for finalized national airtimes. The addition of the New York and Los Angeles markets will guarantee an event-record viewing audience for the parade.

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