Spanish flair accents New Year's Eve countdown in Miami to mark Florida's 500th anniversary

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MIAMI - The Big Orange that rises over downtown Miami on New Year's Eve has gotten a makeover to celebrate Florida's 500th anniversary.

The orange has been renamed in Spanish as "La Gran Naranja (nah-RAHN'-hah)" for Monday night's countdown.

City officials and the Spain-Florida Foundation renamed the annual Big Orange event to mark 2013 as the 500th anniversary of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon's arrival in Florida. Spanish explorers introduced oranges and other citrus fruits to the continent.

The neon orange sign is 35 feet in diameter and ascends 400 feet to the top of the Hotel InterContinental. This year's event also features a historical re-enactment of Ponce de Leon's first steps in Florida.

Organizers say the New Year's Eve event attracts between 150,000 and 250,000 people each year.

Organizations: Spain-Florida Foundation

Geographic location: Florida, Miami, Ponce de Leon

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