Take Me Back to Orange Bowl Parade Days!


Nothing like January in Miami!’

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ew Year’s has come and gone but it always feels like something was missing in Miami. Are you thinking it’s the UM Hurricanes not being in a national championship game or the Dolphins in the NFL Playoffs?

No — it’s the Orange Bowl Parade that’s missing in my life. As a child growing up in Miami, nothing was more exciting than the nighttime parade broadcast around the world on New Year’s Eve. I fondly remember the Mahi Shriners, marching bands and waiting for the always-spectacular Orange Bowl Queen’s float. (Some of Miami’s Queens went onto Hollywood fame –the 1969 Queen married Dean Martin and Victoria Principal was a member of her court).

We proudly watched UM’s “Band of the Hour” as our parents waited for the Miami Senior High’s “Million Dollar Band” to pass by. And whether you attended Southwest or were a Coral Park Ram, your band performed on national television!

Before the OB parade’s began in 1937, Carl Fisher had erected a brand new electric billboard in Times Square for New Year’s Eve, picturing the Roaring 20s in Miami with local girls frolicking in the surf under a banner: “It’s Always June in Miami.” Now, Twitter currently is running a <#SoMiami hastag> after a vending machine recently showed up in Times Square, giving out prize tickets to visit Miami. It’s all about the advertising!

Up north, we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with people lining the streets and shivering in coats. In Miami, our parade showcased women in strapless gowns, riding floats and waving to the crowd on New Year’s Eve. And while we still have the Junior Orange Bowl Parade in Coral Gables, there was always something beautiful about Biscayne Boulevard stately royal palms shining under downtown lights.

As for me, I still have a velvet purple baton twirler’s outfit with a pink satin bow and rhinestones, made for a JOB appearance when I was young and both parades were highlights of the arriving New Year. Oh! the memories…

As any Jimmy Buffett fan knows, Skip Wiley may have stolen the Orange Bowl Queen but Miami is still alive and kicking with outdoor art shows and musical concerts. Hopefully, the Hurricanes will win a National Championship and we can enjoy the Dolphins in the Super Bowl again!

‘Til then, take a ride downtown at night to enjoy Bayside. New Year’s never gets any better than January in Miami!

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