New Year’s celebrations may not send 2020 out with a bang

by | Dec 28, 2020

Whether it’s masquerade parties in Jacksonville, roof top celebrations in Tampa, or just quiet private celebrations at home, Floridians will be sending 2020 off, maybe not with a bang, but definitely with a “good riddance.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, fireworks are completely cancelled in Naples this year.

In Downtown Miami, the Big Orange rise and New Year’s Eve fireworks show that superstar Pitbull normally headlines was scrapped.

But in other parts of the state, celebrations will go on, just maybe with modifications.

In Jacksonville, revelers can don a different kind of mask to attend one of its many properly social-distanced masquerade parties or walk down to the St. Johns River to view the midnight fireworks.

In Tampa, a very limited number of guests can sit alongside the Hillsborough River for a waterfront concert and watch as fireworks explode over the water at the New Year‘s Eve Riverfront Concert and Fireworks at Armature Works. Or they can welcome 2021 with a nine-course culinary celebration at the top of a 12-story Karol Hotel.

Over on the Panhandle, partygoers in Destin can dance the night away at New Year’s Eve at HarborWalk Village and enjoy a traditional fireworks display at midnight.

SeaWorld Orlando will celebrate New Year’s in its park on Dec. 31 from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. with limited capacity and enhanced safety procedures. Spectaculars can view its fireworks display from a variety of physically distanced viewing areas available around the park.

However, other theme parks are planning much more subdued celebrations.

At Disney World, in Orlando, celebrations will be quite subdued, with the parks closing prior to midnight. Firework celebrations will be pre-recorded and televised to those staying at the park hotels.

At Universal, Hard Rock Cafe will be hosting the only New Year’s Eve event on-property. Hard Rock Live will have live entertainment along with a countdown to midnight.

In some Florida towns organizers have decided to modify traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations. Tallahassee will still host fireworks displays in Cascades Park, but they will end at 10 p.m., not the traditional midnight.

There will be no Red Shoe Drop in Key West. The takeoff on New York City’s Times Square “ball drop,” has been an annual event since 1996 in front of the Bourbon St. Pub at midnight. But this year, the party in Key West will be cut short, as the city has decided to impose a curfew from 10 p.m., Dec. 31, and will end on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021 at 6 a.m.

There is no official way to measure the number of people who will send 2020 off at home, either with their own fireworks or bon fires or just a quiet evening with family. But whether it is a celebration large or small, most are in agreement the end of 2020 can’t get here soon enough.


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