History

History

Throughout the years, the Metropolitan Business Association (MBA), Central Florida’s LGBTQ+ chamber of commerce, saw the need for a Pride festival that focused on building unity and an open dialogue within the local community, as well as encouraging the rest of the country to rally by our side while we worked to influence Florida legislators to create more inclusive laws. In 2005, Come Out With Pride, Inc. (COWP) was formed as its own corporation under the MBA. This allowed the new organization to have their own board of directors and mission for the community. COWP is a 501c3 all-volunteer nonprofit organization led by a board of directors and a production team.

Since that day in 2005, COWP has grown into a major Pride event, becoming one of the largest Pride festivals in Florida. Between the marketplace, entertainment, Disney Kid Zone, parade, fireworks and variety of food and beverage choices, this event caters to the diverse communities that make up Central Florida.

COWP is celebrated during the first weekend in October. It aligns with National Coming Out Day (October 11th) and National Gay and Lesbian History Month. It could take advantage of the cooler fall days, as central Florida already had a major LGBTQ+ event in June (Gay Days). COWP is a fun event for everyone to enjoy, regardless of age, gender, race, disability or sexual orientation.

An important mission for COWP is to give back to the community through charitable initiatives, including cash grants and scholarships as well as various partnerships with local organizations and causes. This accounted for more than $5,000 donated in 2015 and $30,000 in 2016.

COWP is implementing new ways to improve and build upon this incredible event without losing sight of the organization’s main goal. COWP will continue to spread a message of acceptance and diversity while engaging in community activities and educational forums.

To learn more about our bylaws and our latest financial information, please contact us board@comeoutwithpride.org.