Orlando Pride—or Come Out With Orlando Pride to give it its full name—returned to Florida on Saturday. The event consisted of a walking parade in Downtown Orlando with around 100 different participating groups, followed by a festival in Lake Eola Park.
All those wishing to attend the park festival had to register in advance, as the organizers wanted to keep a close eye on numbers because of the Covid situation.
Entertainment included live acts in the park’s amphitheater and the Unified By Pride dance stage, plus fireworks to end the day at 9.15pm. It was the first in-person Pride event in the city since 2019. Performers included Kylie Sonique Love, Gottmik, and the Orlando Gay Chorus.
Krystal Rajkowski (@girllrilla) took part in the parade, walking with @OrlandoFringe.
“I was walking with my best friend and best ally. This was both our first time walking in the parade. I only came out a year ago and she’s been more supportive than any friendship I could have imagined.”
Pulse remembered at Orlando Pride
Among other groups represented on the day was OnePulse, the nonprofit set up to commemorate the lives lost at the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016. One parade banner bored the faces and names of all those lost.
Mick (@micklovinlife) said, “Orlando continues to amaze me as a city that is not just physically beautiful but also has some of the most beautiful people, and I’m referring to the inner beauty.”
Another Pride first-timer was Jae Dawson (@jaedawson_).
“This was my first time attending Pride and I enjoyed every second of it! The parade, the shows, the vendors, everything was spectacular. It was great seeing so many people come out and be themselves, no judgment, just love! I cannot wait to attend again next year!”
Joe Adorno (@thejoeadorno), out enjoying the day with friends, told GayCities, “The beauty about any pride event is its inclusivity. Everyone is welcome to celebrate the uniqueness of each individual.”
Another attendee, Marissa (@itsmarissabraah) told GayCities, “Orlando pride was an experience I will surely never forget! The atmosphere was so inviting and accepting. It’s nice to finally be somewhere and feel like you belong. It’s a place where you can truly be your authentic self and not feel judged.
“We live in a world where many people look down on the LGBTQ+ community, but Orlando pride really brought all the love and good vibes to every person that attended. Shoutout to Orlando for putting together an amazing and memorable experience!,” she added.
“Just getting started”
“Orlando is my home, and to see a city get together with an amazing team of volunteers from Come Out With Pride and participants getting excited about celebrating my community, makes this home that much more important to me,” said David Arce (@darce711).
“Not only do we celebrate Hispanic Heritage month but we celebrate Pride. Two things that I relate to but also two cultures that were affected by the tragedy that struck five years ago at Pulse. But from an act of hate came much love because now I see a more unified city and we are just getting started.”