PHOTOS: Orlando celebrates first in-person Pride in over two years

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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.

Orlando Pride
Marching for the first time in a Pride parade (Photo: @girllrilla/Instagram)

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.”

Orlando Pride 2021
Marching with friends, allies, and lots of pride (Photo: @_aluisperez_/Instagram)

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.”

Orlando Pride in Florida
(Photo: @micklovinlife/Instagram)

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!”

Orlando Pride
Celebrating his first Pride in Lake Eola Park, Orlando (Photo: @jaedawson_/instagram)

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.”

Orlando Pride
(Photo: @thejoeadorno/Instagram)

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.

“Orlando pride really brought all the love and good vibes” (Photo: @itsmarissabraah/Instagram)

“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”

(Photo: @darce711/Instagram)

“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.”

Check out some more images below

(Photo: @systematicssinner/Instagram)
Orlando Pride
“Sounds gay … I’m in” is a sentiment we can get behind (Photo: @neilers44/Instagram)
Orlando Pride
(Photo: @jrodis_89/Instagram)
Orlando Pride
“This was my first Pride in Orlando and it exceeded my expectations!” (Photo: @mixedparksguy/Instagram)
(Photo: @count_von/Instagram)
Go-go boy Robby (from Savoy) and a laid-back messiah (Photo: @joemydodd/Instagram)
Orlando Pride
Orlando Pride (Photo: @officially.flawed/Instagram)
Orlando Pride
(Photo: @mess_head/Instagram)
Two gay dads and their child at Orlando Pride
A ‘familia’ day out for these dads and their child (Photo: @gerardohug/Instagram)
“After dealing with this pandemic for almost two years it was nice to get out and celebrate in person with all of our friends.” (Photo: @cmeushaw/Instagram)