On June 12, 2016, Orlando was changed forever. Throughout the days, weeks and months that followed, the community took action to rebuild and strengthen. People helped one another. They showed the world our ongoing spirit that neither hate nor violence could ever extinguish us and we kept dancing.
Last November, Come Out With Pride gathered people together to remember and honor the lives that were taken from us. This year, Come Out With Pride will continue to honor their memory by keeping the music going. There will be dancing in the parade, dancing throughout the festival, and even an entire dance area called the #KeepDancingOrlando Zone.
Here is your guide to an unforgettable weekend:
To kick off Orlando Pride weekend, stop by The Veranda from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 12th for The Pride Launch Party. The countdown to pride weekend ramps up with energetic performances in a dazzling social setting that’s not to be missed. General admission is free and VIP options are available. The Veranda is located in the beautiful Thornton Park neighborhood at 111 North Summerlin Avenue.
On Friday at 8 p.m., Get ready to party as Hamburger Mary’s and Pride Orlando presents “Pride On Church Street”. The event is free admission and features various live entertainment throughout the night, including Miss Sammy, DJ JB Burgos, The Minx, Carol Lee and many more!! Hamburger Mary’s is located at 110 West Church Street in Downtown Orlando.
Before heading over to the Come Out With Pride Festival on Saturday the 14th, grab your boyfriend…or your girlfriend…or your parents…or all of your closest friends…or all of the above and head over to The Abbey for the Big Gay Brunch, presented by Orlando Immunology Center. The Big Gay Brunch features an amazing brunch spread, bottomless mimosas, Tito’s Bloody Marys, DJs and live performances. You can purchase your tickets at biggaybrunchorlando.com. The Abbey is located a block away from Lake Eola at 100 South Eola Drive. Eat, Drink and Come Out With Pride!
Between noon and 10 p.m. on Saturday the 14th, join the LGBTQ+ community members and allies as we all come together for an unforgettable day long festival!
Be sure to visit more than 100 vendors at the Pride Marketplace and SponsorWalk between noon and 7 p.m.
Gather your friends to watch The Most Colorful Parade at 4p.m. Come Out With Pride is looking forward to having a very moving and uplifting parade, and this is your chance to get excited and show thanks to the individuals who have devoted so much energy to strengthening and supporting our community. In order to ensure that all of this year’s attendees have a perfect spot to watch the parade, the route has been expanded all the way down to Orange Avenue. Come Out With Pride is also offering a special grandstands seating option along with the VIP Experience.
Every great event deserves a great finale, and shortly after 9 p.m. Come Out With Pride will continue the tradition of saying goodnight with a dazzling spectacle of fireworks above Lake Eola. With nearly a mile of walkways around the water, there’s room for everyone to get a prime viewing spot.
(JoJo Headlines Come Out With Pride Singing “When Love Hurts and “Too Little Too Late)
The festival, parade and fireworks spectacle are all free of charge and open to the public with VIP tickets for sale featuring exclusive opportunities throughout the day. Entertainment, special events and more surprises will commence throughout the day.
Come Out With Pride is always a fun event as it is a safe place where everyone can feel welcomed with the most colorful parade and best entertainment. However, Pride is more than that. The Pride legacy is about fighting for our community’s rights, especially for those who don’t always have a voice. Pride is also about taking action – Throughout this year’s festival, you’ll will see many organizations and businesses that are committed to making our society better. You’ll find some engaged in helping people live healthier lives, others who are charged with changing our political landscape, and so much more as you will have an opportunity to meet and join forces with these groups. Come Out With Pride is dedicated to helping you find and connect with them. We’ve seen countless examples in recent times of how ignorance and inaction can have devastating consequences. Come out this October 14th with plans to celebrate, but also with the mission to help the entire Come Out With Pride team make a real difference.
Every year, Come Out With Pride truly makes a difference by allocating funds towards grants and scholarships for the Central Florida community. Their board evaluates the needs of local LGBTQ+ organizations, LGBTQ+ students and that of allied organizations doing an outstanding job at educating and providing services to our community towards acceptance and equal rights. Come Out With Pride does not provide grants to political or activist groups. Their focus is on those organizations that might be struggling to meet their goals and those with a mission aimed at educating and assisting members of our community. Last year, Come Out With Pride provided $30,000 in scholarships, cash grants and promotional/logistical assistance to various organizations within the community.
In closing, I would like to thank the entire Come Out With Pride team: Brian Riha, Patrick Burke, Jose Luis Dieppa, Cedric Linton, Deb Ofsowitz, Jeff Prystajko, Matt Riha, Holly Strout, Kesia Antunes, Bob Azzarito, Karen Brown, Robert Carnes, J.D. Casto, Conor McKeever, Dani Ring, Alex Ruble, Kevin Sayre, Billy Sisco and the amazing group of volunteers that help make this an unforgettable event every year.
All of us are making a difference in our community! Let’s #KeepDancingOrlando.
For more information, please visit comeoutwithpride.com.