The annual Pride Parade commemorates the Stonewall riots, and celebrates the beginning of the gay rights movement. Today, you ... More
Chicago Pride Parade
The annual Pride Parade commemorates the Stonewall riots, and celebrates the beginning of the gay rights movement. Today, you are just as likely to see politicians, radio personalities and corporate sponsors march in the parade as you are to see drag queens, muscle boys and leather daddies. Many watching the parade seem oblivious to the political overtones of the event, though. For them, it is simply a chance to party, an opportunity to see the scene and be seen. A dance at the lakefront follows the parade.
This was my first time coming to the Chicago Pride Parade and I just want to say that it was the best. The people were friendly and I even took pictures as well as made new friends. Awesome!!! I am definitely coming back for the 2009 Gay Parade. Keeps getting better and better!
This is the second year I've marched in the Pride Parade (last year I marched with College of DuPage and this year with Second Unitarian Church). I have to say, it is just about the most fun I've had all year!
Everyone is having fun, laughing, smiling, and the people are so friendly!!! Don't be surprised if someone walks up to you and starts talking about just about anything from how beautiful the weather is to how they love your shoes! It is just a wonderful event that makes everyone (gay, straight, bisexual, transgendered, questioning, black, white, latino/a, asian, young, old, et cetera) feel welcome. You will find people of all ages, colors, RELIGIONS, and sexual orientations there, and it is just a shining example of how everyone CAN get along and love each other for who they are! This year, we saw Lutherans, Unitarians, Buddhists, Jews, and various other Middle Eastern religions all marching in the parade with their floats adorned with rainbows.
What to expect:
It will be crowded. This year there were over 400,000 people... and it was raining! Taking public transportation is HIGHLY recommended.
Use the restroom BEFORE joining the parade... many local shops do not have public restrooms or they close them for the event.
Bring sunblock and check the weather forecast before heading out.
Bring a camera! You will get lots of great pictures that you will laugh at and enjoy for years to come. Make sure to take plenty of batteries and film/memory cards (made THAT mistake this year, luckily our float was in front of a Home Depot).
People WILL be dressed in all sorts of clothes (or lack thereof). Do expect guys in Speedos, and women without shirts (with their nipples covered). Do expect drag queens in full plummage ;)
There are a lot of floats promoting companies. Expect to get samples and coupons... and BEADS!!!
Expect to have a good time. If you are not, someone will most likely be along shortly to make sure you are!
Tip: If you are not marching in the parade, but are watching, stand at the BEGINNING of the parade route. It is a LONG parade route, and by the time the floats get to the end (or even the middle) most of the participants are tired and/or out of stuff to give out.
Expect protestors. They are usually quiet and do not bother anyone, but it is best not to heckle them. Usually the ACLU or pro-gay rights organizations will keep the protestors away from the celebrants and parade-watchers.
The parade ends about 5 o'clock, so it is the perfect time to take the El into the Loop and enjoy free concerts in the city (this year, we saw Monster Piano, with 10 grand pianos playing American classics). A lot of people do after-parade parties on the north side, and the bars are PACKED. I prefer to head into the Loop, where the bars and restaurants aren't quite so full, and you will see many people from the event do the same thing.
The Pride Parade is an excellent way to spend a Sunday Afternoon, Full of Laughs and a great diverse crowd. Many organizations are represented and it's a great way to show support for the GLBT community!