Big Orange ready to rise to ring in 2020

Pitbull headlines free New Year’s Eve party, lineup announced

MIAMI – When Steve “Mr. Neon” Carpenter was asked to design what’s become an icon for New Year’s Eve, Big Orange, he thought sheet aluminum was the way to go.

But when he arrived at the site at Bayfront Park, he said the wind coming from Biscayne Bay changed his mind.

“I decided to go with a screen that’s 50 percent perforated so the wind can go through it,” said Carpenter, who has been working with neon for over 50 years and has a shop in Hialeah.

This will be the 34th year of raising the Big Orange since Carpenter designed and built the 30-foot-tall icon, which climbs 400 feet to the top of Miami’s InterContinental Hotel to ring in Miami’s New Year 2020.

“This is our New York ball, but in Miami we raise ours instead of lowering it,” said Carpenter.

The Big Orange is the star of the countdown to midnight at Bayfront Park’s south end. The New Year’s Eve icon slowly ascends the side of the InterContinental Hotel, reaching the top at midnight with a fireworks display capping it off.

Entertainment Lineup

Also announced Friday was the lineup for the New Year’s Eve free party at Bayfront Park, 301 N. Biscayne Boulevard, Miami.

Pitbull headlines the evening with festivities beginning at 3 p.m. In addition to Mr. Worldwide, the star-studded lineup includes performances from Paulina Rubio, Nacho, Willy Chirino, Amaury Gutierrez, Darell, Carlos Oliva, Los 3 de la Habana, Lena & Malena Burke, Eduardo Antonio, Luis Bofill, I Am Chino, DJ LAZ, Amara La Ngra, Karyle Alonso, Marytrini, Miami Girls Tumbao, Las Payasitas Nifu Nifa and other surprises, organizers say.

They also advise that no bottles, cans, coolers or personal fireworks will be allowed. During the evening’s festivities, officials encourage anyone who "sees something to say something. " Revelers can text “Bayfront” to 69050 followed by any questions or concerns during the event.

There’s also a way to be a VIP and not get caught up in the crowd. Packages from $295 to $495 get you gourmet food, a champagne toast and a chance to be a Mr. Worldwide VIP. Get details.

Getting to and from Bayfront Park

On Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, Metrobus, Metrorail and Metromover will operate on a regular weekday schedule. After 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Metrorail will have a 15-minute service frequency between the Dadeland South and Earlington Heights stations, and a 30-minute service frequency between the Palmetto and Earlington Heights stations.

Metrorail service will be extended until 2 a.m. on Wednesday, January 1, 2020. Metromover service also will be extended until approximately 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 1.

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About the Authors:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."