CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Pat Quinn and a host of other dignitaries and local institutions will be stepping off in the Boystown neighborhood Sunday for the 42nd Annual Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade.
And this year, the celebrations won’t only be along Halsted Street and Broadway. After the parade, a brand new Gay Pride festival will kick off in Rogers Park.
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June is Pride Month, and events have been going on since the month began. On Friday and Saturday, those events culminate in the bustling Pride Fest, along the Boystown strip of Halsted Street at Waveland Avenue.
Two stages of entertainment will be set up, highlighted by performances from Deborah Cox, Ultra Nate, Crystal Waters, Kim English, Inaya Day, and cover acts Sixteen Candles and Wedding Banned, among others. And on the north stage at 1 p.m. Saturday, look for female impersonator extraordinaire Miss Foozie with her annual Pet Parade.
Pride Fest is on from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.
The actual parade, as always, steps off from Halsted Street and Belmont Avenue at 12 noon on Sunday. It proceeds north on Halsted, then south-southeast on Broadway, and finally east on Diversey Parkway to Cannon Drive in the park of Lincoln Park.
In addition to the mayor and governor, an assortment of other elected officials – including aldermen, local elected officials, state lawmakers and members of Congress, will be participating. And look for floats representing the bars and businesses on Halsted Street, gay rights groups from all around the Chicago area, religious organizations, and an assortment of other local businesses.
New to the parade this year are the U.S. Peace Corps, the Chicago Teachers Union, and “Intactivists” from the anti-circumcision movement, according to the Chicago Tribune RedEye.
The grand marshal for this year’s parade is Fernanda Rocha, the first lesbian cast member on the Bravo show “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”
Organizers point out that alcohol consumption should not take place along the parade route, and anyone who brings coolers with alcoholic beverages is liable to get a costly ticket from police. But many bars along Halsted Street and Broadway are open for the parade.
City ordinance also forbids parade participants from tossing beads or other items to spectators, or for spectators tossing items back. Participants are also cautioned not to use high-powered squirt guns, as they could cause injuries.
While the party invariably goes on late into the night on Halsted Street after the parade, some revelers will head about four miles north to the Rogers Park neighborhood for the new Pride North festival.
From 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Pride North will take over Glenwood Avenue between Lunt and Morse avenues, right alongside the Red Line ‘L’ embankment. The cover band Sixteen Candles will be back for the festival, along with two DJs, Gay Chicago Magazine reported.
The magazine reported that Rogers Park has always been a neighborhood that has valued diversity, but was lacking in gay nightlife, which has long been concentrated in Boystown and Andersonville. But that has been changing lately with the revitalization of what is now being called the Glenwood Area Arts District, and the owners of new Glenwood Bar, 6962 N. Glenwood Ave., thought it was about time bring the festivities north, the magazine reported.
The magazine says Ald. Joe Moore (49th) plans to attend the Pride North festival on Sunday.