COWP wants to be UNITED for Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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Orlando – Come Out With Pride has set the stage for 2015 to be the biggest, most successful Pride event ever when it takes to streets of Orlando October 8-10.

The theme, Pride United, is a call to unite the community after last year’s controversy over the Metropolitan Business Association—COWP’s parent organization—removing Mikael Audebert, the former executive director.

“We want everyone to know Pride is ok,” said Matt Riha, COWP director of marketing and communications. “we are great and excited about this year’s events and positive that what we hoped for this year will happen.”

The change in leadership at COWP has led to many changes coming for the parade and events as well.

“We have listened to feedback,” Brian Smith, COWP president, said. “In previous years we have had so many competing Pride events so we have cut the celebration down from a week to three days.”

The three day celebration will start with the launch party at Hamburger Mary’s and conclude with a parade and festival around Lake Eola.

Other changes coming for COWP 2015 will be a reorganized layout for the festival at Lake Eola.

“We will also have awards for the best floats in the parade, as well as the Pride Marketplace which will feature our venders and designated sponsor and community partners areas,” Smith said. “You will also see the return of Dinner & Fireworks, but expanded to include more tables.”

The big change this year is the way COWP is funded. In the past, it has been the beverage sales that have paid for the events, but this year COWP wants to do things a little different.

“We are introducing ‘Make it a Double’,” Riha said. “It’s a way to get the community involved in COWP so that the proceeds made from the day of the event can go back to the community.”

“Make it a Double” is a group of fundraising events put on by COWP leading up to the main event at Lake Eola.

“We will be doing a bar crawl the last weekend of July,” Riha said. “We will also have a GAYrage sale, a GLOW party, an event at DRIP, all these events are a part of ‘Make it a Double’ so we can reach our goal of funding Pride before it happens and at the end we will have a big reception for the teams to see if we made our goal.”

COWP will be getting the word out leading up to Pride and the board members plan on attending all the events.

“I don’t think Pride has had an entire board face in the past, so we’re all getting out there. We all are going to events so people know who we are and so they’ll have many faces to Pride,” Riha said.

While they can’t say anything yet, COWP says they are working on some exciting prospects for grand marshals and are in the final stages of securing the entertainment. That information can be expected in late August.

“We really feel that this is going to be our most successful year,” Smith said.

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