Come Out With Pride, Orlando! Here's the 2021 rundown: parades, fireworks, celebrities and all

Click this pic to see more photos from the 2019 COWP parade
Click this pic to see more photos from the 2019 COWP parade Photo by Megan Turner

Happy Pride, Orlando! After 2020 celebrations were shifted mostly online, Orlando's Come Out With Pride is back this weekend with a huge slate of in-person events, observances, celebrations and — yes — the blockbuster parade through downtown Orlando. This year's theme is "Unified by Pride" in recognition of the vibrant diversity of Orlando's LGBTQ+ community.

On Saturday, Oct. 9, starting at noon and going until 9:30 p.m., Lake Eola Park will come alive with a big, festival-style celebratory event with a plethora of live entertainment spread over multiple stages. But first, fortify yourself at the Hammered Lamb at the Official Pre-Parade Pride Brunch, starting at 10 a.m.

This year there will be two parades happening in observance of Pride this Saturday — so get some fresh air in solidarity! Orlando's part of the National Trans Visibility March starts with a rally at 1 p.m. at the amphitheater in Lake Eola. Then the march starts at 2 p.m. and goes until 3:30 p.m.

Then the traditional Come Out With Pride parade through downtown Orlando starts right afterward at 4 p.m. with celebrity grand marshals Blue Star, Brandon Wolf, Chelsea Wolfe (not the musician, but a badass trans BMX Freestyle athlete who is a Florida native), Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet and Tina Gregory-Propst. They'll be leading participants and floats on an expanded mile-long route through downtown.

click to enlarge Kylie Sonique Love - image courtesy of COWP
image courtesy of COWP
Kylie Sonique Love

The festival in Lake Eola Park features two very big-name headliners from the glamorous and high-stakes world of RuPaul's Drag Race: Gottmik and Kylie Sonique Love.

Gottmik came to fame on Season 13 of Drag Race, both as the first trans man to compete on the program and for his bold, avant sense of style and aesthetic. Kylie Sonique Love, the crowned queen of Drag Race's sixth season, was the first trans woman to ever win a U.S. season of Drag Race, and held court at much-missed local landmark Parliament House more than a few times.

Aside from the headliners, entertainment will be on offer from MrMs Adrien's Gaga Ball, a few numbers from The Gay '90s Musical, Moonshot Acapella, DJ Tracy Young and DJ Scott Robert. There will also be a Pride Marketplace showcasing local goods, a SponsorWalk highlighting affiliated organizations and businesses, the Rainbow Ranch for the kiddies and even a sober space.

The evening will be capped off by a fireworks show over Lake Eola at 9:15 p.m. Downtown bar Irish Shannon's will be hosting the Amor official afterparty.

click to enlarge Gottmik - image courtesy of COWP
image courtesy of COWP

Pride offshoot events this week include the Super Gay Wednesday Pride Kick-Off at Come Out With Pride grand marshal Blue Star's Church Street clubhouse, Haos on Church, as well as Les Vixens' Diznee Burlesque Show (guess what that's about!) going down at Southern Nights on Wednesday, Oct. 6. On Thursday, Oct. 7, the Orlando Gay Chorus presents "We Shall Overcome: Celebrate LGBT+ Diversity" at the Lake Eola bandshell, spotlighting "LGBT+ trailblazers of color" in song. Performances of The Gay '90s Musical in its entirety happen at the Savoy on Oct. 7, 8 and 10, with a portion of the proceeds going to Come Out With Pride and the LGBT+ Center. The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando will observe a Pride Shabbat at City Hall on Friday, Oct. 8, and later that night Watermark hosts Movies Out Loud, featuring a screening of Showgirls hosted by comedians Sabrina Ambra and Jeff Jones. (Should get raucous!) Even later that night — and most likely even more raucous — is Leather Pride Night at Savoy, kicking off at 9:30 p.m. For those interested in a different type of sports, there's Pride Night with the Orlando Magic on Sunday, Oct. 10, at the Amway Center, with the Magic taking on the San Antonio Spurs.

And don't forget to cap off a very full weekend with the official Come Out With Pride brunch outdoors at the Dr. Phillips Center on Sunday, Oct. 10, at noon, featuring food, drinks and plenty of live entertainment.

Organizers are asking that those interested in attending Come Out With Pride on Saturday RSVP through in advance, wear a mask at all events and get vaccinated. This is about thinking community-minded and looking out for one another.

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