The Orlando Citrus Parade could put a squeeze on commuters this morning as the annual parade steps off at 10 a.m., closing many of the main arteries through the downtown business district from 6 a.m. to noon.
The two-hour parade, featuring 2013 U.S. Open golf champion Justin Rose as grand marshal, boasts more than 3,000 participants this year, including marching bands from the University of Wisconsin and the University of South Carolina, and Heisman Trophy winners from both schools.
Spectators frequently stake out curbside spots as early as 6 a.m. along the 1.4 mile route.
The parade begins on Orange Avenue at Robinson Street, turns east on South Street and turns north on Rosalind Avenue to Lake Eola.
Among the roads that will be affected are Orange Avenue from Colonial Drive to South Street; West Robinson between Rosalind and Summerlin avenues; and Rosalind Avenue between South and West Robinson streets.
Reputed to be one of the largest sports-affiliated parades in the nation, the Citrus Parade is held annually during Orlando Bowl Week, which will be capped this year by the Capital One Bowl, pitting the Wisconsin Badgers against the South Carolina Gamecocks at the Citrus Bowl.
The parade includes several fruit-filled floats which incorporate thousands of oranges, tangerines and grapefruit in their designs.
More than 45 organizations are entered in the parade, including Miss Rodeo Florida Association, Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort.
Spectators can find parade-day parking at several lots. No on-street parking is allowed along the parade route.
Parking areas are located at 57 S. Hughey Ave. under Interstate 4; at 81 N. Hughey Ave., between Washington Street and Central Boulevard; at 109 W. Pine St.; at 150 S. Hughey Ave.; and in the Thornton Park Central Garage, located at 10 N. Summerlin Ave. Entrances to the Thornton Park garage are located on North Eola Drive and East Washington Street.
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