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Whether you live in Florida, another southern state or anywhere else in the country, you won't want to miss all the excitement of the Orlando Pride festivities. Finding information on this event is sometimes hard because the soccer team in the city uses the same name, but once you learn about all the fun you can have at Orlando Pride, you'll want to add the date to your calendar. This is the main festival in Florida for the LGBTQ community, and one of the oldest pride events in the south.
The Metropolitan Business Association (MBA) saw the need for a pride festival in Orlando. Leaders working for that organization, which consists of LGBTQ business leaders, created Come Out With Pride, Inc. (COWP) as a nonprofit group that would offer opportunities for gays and lesbians in the area. COWP would later establish the Orlando Pride Parade and all the other fun events that take place in the early part of October. The group chose the first weekend in October because it was close to National Coming Out Day, and would encourage recent additions to the community to come out and have fun too.
Though the festival itself only takes place over the weekend, there are plenty of events to occupy your time earlier in the week. Past events included screenings of LGBTQ films and a drag race that raised money for charity. Come Out With Pride hosts a parade that runs around Lake Eola and along the promenade. You'll also find a late afternoon recovery party, which is the perfect place to relax and recuperate before you head back home. If you only attend one pride event in Florida, you'll want to make it the celebration in Orlando.
Orlando Pride will celebrate its 15th anniversary in 2019 and plans to amp up the fun from previous editions. Hosted by Come Out With Pride, the fun will begin on Monday, October 7, 2019, with the Drag Race 5K. Whether you want to run in your favorite athletic shoes or go all out in your best drag costume, you'll see hundreds of other people running right next to you. Tuesday, October 8 will host a film screening, and Wednesday, October 9 is when visitors can head over to House of Drag for one of the most exciting parties of the week. Orlando Pride 2018 included The Edge Reunion at that venue, so we assume this year will be just as big.
While you can have lots of fun in the sun early in the week, Orlando Pride really comes to life over the weekend. This is when thousands of visitors and locals meet at Lake Eola. More than 100 groups and 2,000 individuals take part in the Orlando Pride Parade as they march from the lake to downtown Orlando, along a one-mile path. The parade works its way around multiple stages and other venues where you can see some of your favorite celebrities. COWP changed the parade route in 2018. It now starts on Rosalind Avenue and moves in a circle from E. Central Boulevard to Summerline Avenue.
Though pride celebrations in 2017 and 2018 were large, COWP thinks that 2019 will be even bigger. New additions to the Pride Parade route help visitors see some of the exciting things they can do later in the day and will encourage them to stick around for the fireworks that night. There are grandstands set up for those who want to watch the parade from the sidelines and a Pride Stage that sees celebrity performers whip guests into a frenzy. Whether you attended Orlando Pride 2018 or spent October in another city, you'll want to head south this year for one incredible pride celebration.