ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced its schedule of events at its 2018 Big Reveal at Tin Roof Orlando July 30. COWP will extend its official events from the traditional three-day weekend to a full week of events.
COWP’s week-long series of events will take place throughout Orlando Oct. 8-14. Several community leaders took the stage at the Big Reveal to make the announcements.
The first event, announced by Zebra Coalition Executive Director Heather Wilkie, will be the Drag Race 5K on Oct. 8 from 5-8 p.m. at Harbor Park at Lake Baldwin. Join COWP, Zebra Coalition and several local drag personalities as they run, walk and sashay their way through Baldwin Park.
“Dressing in drag is not required, but encouraged,” Wilkie said. The event is hosted by COWP and Zebra Coalition. The event is open to all ages with tickets set at $30 for adults and $10 for youth 17 and under.
The next event, a partnership between COWP and QLatinx called Reel Pride, was announced by QLatinx Executive Director Christopher Cuevas.
Reel Pride will be screening the international short film “MAR (The Sea).”
“This is a powerful film that explores themes of love, betrayal, seduction, coming out and being connected to community, and I think that is a very powerful thing,” Cuevas said. “For us to be able to bring an element of Latinx culture into Pride is such a beautiful thing.”
The event will also include a Q&A with the film’s director William Vitoria. “MAR (The Sea)” will play at The Venue Oct. 9 from 5-10 p.m. Tickets are $25 if purchased by Aug. 12 and $30 if purchased by Oct. 8.
Karen Brown took the stage next to announce both Wednesday and Thursday night’s COWP events.
“Who remembers The Edge? The closest thing we had to Studio 54,” Brown announced to the crowd. “Well, we are bringing it back for one night only.”
The event — called House of Pride — will resurrect one of Orlando’s premier dance clubs, and one of the city’s most successful “gay nights.” The night “will make a comeback and present the outrageous music, dancing and entertainment that paved the way for generations to come.”
House of Pride will feature performances from some of Orlando’s top drag houses, and will be held at ACE Cafe Orlando, the former home of The Edge, on Oct. 10 from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Entry to the event is free with a percentage of the bar sales going to support Pride Gives Back, COWP’s grants and scholarship initiative.
The official COWP launch party will be on Oct. 11 from 6-11:30 p.m. at The Veranda in Thornton Park in partnership with the Thornton Park District’s Wine & Art Walk. The launch party, hosted by Orlando’s own Gidget Galore, will showcase a variety of entertainment, special performances and feature music provided by DJ Joanie. COWP’s launch Party is free and open to the public.
Neema Bahrami took the stage next to announce COWP’s Pride Block Party, which will move from Church Street Station in front of Hamburger Mary’s to Stonewall Bar Orlando and the surrounding neighborhood.
“We’re doing something different. It’s going to be fun, fresh, upbeat, it’s going to be a new block party,” Bahrami said. “We are really going to step it up this year and I hope you guys all come.”
The Pride Block Party — which is presented by Stonewall Orlando — will feature four separate DJs, themed rooms, a throwback area, a main stage with a special performance by recording artist Luciana and a non-profit showcase, according to Bahrami.
The big day will be Oct. 13 as COWP anticipates welcoming more than 160,000 attendees in Lake Eola Park. The festivities will begin at The Abbey starting at 11 a.m. with the Big Gay Brunch, hosted by Orlando Weekly. The festival opens at noon with the Marketplace set up on E. Robinson St. this year.
“It will have more space, more lanes and more movement,” said Festival Co-Director Matt Riha.
The Most Colorful Parade will follow the same path as last year, just in reverse. The route will come down Rosalind Ave., across Central Blvd. and up Summerlin Ave. This year, COWP will add judges along the route that will award the best floats in the parade that keep with the parade’s theme — #KeepDancingOrlando. Parade Grand Marshals will be announced in the coming weeks.
This year will feature two entertainment areas — the rainbow amphitheater stage and a second stage being built on the opposite side of Lake Eola. Both stages will be filled all day long with performers and entertainers including recording artists Betty Who and Crystal Waters, as well as VariaTEASE, the cast of the hit Orlando Fringe show “El Wiz” and Drag Queen Extravaganza.
The evening will conclude with the always popular fireworks show over Lake Eola.
The official COWP after party will take attendees back to Stonewall Orlando where four cast members from the hit FX series “Pose” will perform — Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore and Tony Award-winner Billy Porter.
The “Pose” cast will also participate in the parade riding on the onePULSE Foundation float.
The week wraps up on Oct. 14 with the Pride Recovery Brunch at Celine in downtown Orlando from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature live musical performances, bottomless mimosas, a Bloody Mary bar and a catered brunch buffet by Chef Jason Schofield. Early Bird tickets are $45 if purchased by Aug. 13, $55 in advance of the event and $75 at the door.
All events are subject to change. More information and tickets are available at ComeOutWithPride.com.