There'll be no Mr. Neon to usher Miami into 2013 on New Year's Eve.
Instead, Miami will see "La Gran Naranga" rise 400 feet up the InterContinental Hotel as the Magic City counts down to midnight.
Fortunately, our beloved Big Orange is staying the same -- he's just getting a new name to mark Viva Florida 500, a three-year Spanish heritage campaign that begins January 1.
The name change also marks the 500th anniversary of Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon bringing the orange to the Sunshine State when he arrived in 1513. City officials are billing the salute as not only a recognition of our Spanish heritage, but a celebration of Florida agriculture, too.
The Orangist Formerly Known As Mr. Neon sports a new animated winking face after undergoing refurbishment last year. This December 31 will mark the 26th year the 35-foot fruit will travel up the side of the InterContinental, setting off the city's fireworks when he reaches the top.