Throughout the years, the Metropolitan Business Association (MBA – The Central Florida LGBT chamber of commerce) saw the need for a Pride festival that focused on building unity and cohesiveness within the local community and also encouraging the rest of the country to rally to our side while we work to change the laws in Florida. In 2005, their hard work and diligence became a reality when Orlando saw it’s first Come Out With Pride festival on October 9th, 2005.
The first weekend of October was chosen for many reasons. It aligned with National Coming Out Day (October 11th) and National Gay and Lesbian History Month, it could take advantage of the cooler fall days, and central Florida already had a major LGBT event in June (Gay Days).
Since that day in 2005, Come Out With Pride (COWP) has grown into a major Pride event, becoming the largest Pride festival in all of Florida with attendance at upwards of 100,000. Between the vendors, entertainment offerings, Disney Kids Zone, parade, fireworks, variety of food and beverage choices, and as of 2012, a week long of events catering to the diverse audience that make up our wonderful community. Since 2013, Come Out With Pride has been partnering with Converge Orlando (the LGBT Convention and Visitor Bureau) to increase attendance from other states and countries.
An important mission of the COWP event is to give back to our community through charitable initiatives, including cash grants, promotional and logistical assistance to other organizations/causes, which accounted for over $10,000 in 2014 (cash and in kind).
COWP is already implementing ways to continue to improve and build upon this incredible event in the future, without losing sight of where everything started. It will continue to spread a message of acceptance and diversity while engaging with community activities and educational forums. Though created to commemorate National Coming Out Day, it is a fun event for everyone to enjoy, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, age, or race. To learn why celebrating Pride is still important and relevant, click here.
in 2014, COWP celebrated 10 years with 150,000 in attendance to what is now the largest LGBT Pride celebration in Florida.
COWP is a 501c3 non profit organization run by a board of 7 directors elected every 2 years and a production team made of volunteers.
To learn more about our bylaws and download our latest financial information, please click here