Orange Drop returns to Downtown Orlando after 2-year absence

After the coronavirus pandemic and construction canceled the party at downtown Orlando's orange drop for two years in a row, large crowds are expected to be back on Church Street for New Year's Eve.

"We’re super proud of it," said Peter Ghalam from Church Street Entertainment. We’ve been doing it for about 26 years, and it really has become a staple in the community. A lot of families, a lot of folks coming down to watch it."

"It’s great to see this," said Rudy Cabrera, walking by the hoisted orange. "I’m excited."

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While some say they're glad it's coming back, they're a little weary of crowds after a stampede started during Fourth of July fireworks at Lake Eola.

"You think twice before coming," Cabrera said. "It gets really crowded."

Because of incidents like the Fourth of July panic and a gang-related shooting that injured nine people downtown, there will be more security. Orlando Police said there will be more officers patrolling both the streets and in businesses.

Even with thousands expected at the orange drop alone, organizers feel it will be safer than ever.

"The business owners came together with the city, and they came up with a good security plan," Ghalam said. "We’ve got checkpoints, we’ve got a lot more police presence, we’ve got dogs that sniff out weapons. So, it definitely feels much safer than it did last year at this time."