In October 1988, the first National Coming Out Day (NCOD) celebration in Central Florida was held at Winter Park's Central Park. Spearheaded by local activist Joel Strack and We the People, the local rally coincided with other first NCODs around the country.
A second annual NCOD celebration is reported to have taken place at the same Winter Park location in October 1989. Between 1990 and 1994, the History Museum has no record of NCOD celebrations being held in Central Florida.
From 1994 through 2004 (eleven years) the University of Central Florida's Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Student Union (GLBSU) celebrated NCOD every year, first on campus and then on the steps of City Hall. During this period, the event was called "A Light in the Closet" and featured coming-out stories and a candle vigil for those unable to come out of the closet.
In 2005 the NCOD annual event was co-sponsored for the first time by the Metropolitan Business Association (MBA) with GLBSU, and it was named COME OUT WITH PRIDE. MBA had the proven leadership and needed resources to expand the NCOD celebration from a rally into a major celebration, a festival and a parade.