By Vince Gerasole

(CBS) — Chicago’s Pride Parade kicks off at noon Sunday, and preparations were well underway on Friday.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole has a preview.

Scott Delorenzo of Tommy’s Balloons is pumped. He’s got more than three dozen helpers working round the clock to be ready for Sunday’s Pride Parade, which will feature tens of thousands of his balloons.

“You can’t not smile when you see a balloon,” he says.

For Scott and his husband, it’s personal.

“The country’s a bit more divided than in years past. It’s nice to take a moment of joy,” he says.

Come Sunday, the streets of Uptown and Lakeview will be brimming with crowds that typically hover near 1 million.

Organizer Richard Pfeiffer was there for the first parade 48 years ago.

“The first parade we had just 150. Now we have thousands marching,” he says.

The event has been so popular that in recent years the number of entrants was limited to 150 and the parade route shortened for safety concerns.  It also comes as police put the neighborhood on alert following four street robberies, each with a trio of suspects.  In one instance, suspects threatened victims with a knife

“You always have to be cautious, walk together not alone,” Pfeiffer says.

In the crowd will be increased uniformed and plain-clothed officers, all to keep the peace during a celebration of diversity and tolerance, that’s usually quite a show.

“It’s every race, creed, color, economic status — it brings us all together that day,” Pfeiffer says.