CHICAGO (CBS) — Some partygoers attending an LGBTQ Pride festival this past weekend in Rogers Park say they were hit with a fee to attend.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Monday night, the Pride North Chicago festival is now catching heat for taking the cash.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Slight Chance Of Storms Overnight; A Quiet Pattern To Come
A few streetlights along Glenwood Avenue near Morse Avenue are still decked with Pride colors – remnants of Pride North. The street festival turned sour on Sunday when signs popped up on day two.
“The sign did not say ‘suggested donation,’” said Luke Vander Pluym. “It said ‘$20,’ and another sign underneath it, ‘cash only,’ and both were written with Sharpie.”
Vander Pluym lives in the neighborhood, yet he decided not to attend the festival this year.
“It did feel like someone was trying to exploit the situation,” he said.
Pride North brands itself as the largest neighborhood Pride party. Yet after 11 years, those handwritten signs posted this year charged for entry on Glenwood Avenue.
“It angered me. I mean, we’re at a time where people are hurting for money,” Vander Pluym said. “Yes, the economy is getting better, but there’s plenty of people in this neighborhood who don’t have jobs.”READ MORE: At Least 2 People Killed, 32 Wounded In Gun Violence In Chicago So Far This Weekend
“A lot of angry neighbors, a lot of angry residents, and some people disappointed because it really didn’t fit the spirit of what Pride celebrations are about,” said Ald. Maria Hadden (49th).
Hadden stresses requiring payment was simply illegal, and violated the city permit that prohibits charging to walk streets. The alderwoman said not only did organizers charge to enter the street, but, “They also had signs up that said, ‘absolutely no walk-throughs.’”
Hadden personally came down and told the event organizers to remove the signs, and reminded them they could only ask for donations.
“It seems even after kind of that first visit and trying to correct, there was still confusion; people being told different things; being turned away,” Hadden said.
Colm Treacy, organizer of Pride North Chicago, said more than 5,000 people filled the streets and he was not clear on how many were forced to pay. He insisted the signs were an error, yet he would not say how long they were up, how many people were forced to pay, and just how much cash they collected.
“It just didn’t feel right,” Vander Pluym said.
That is why he stayed away. And with so many summer festivals expected across the city, Ald. Hadden wants to remind people of one thing.MORE NEWS: 1 Killed, 2 Wounded In West Pullman Shooting
“They don’t have exclusive right to the public way,” she said. “If you want to get in and you don’t have the money, you can’t be turned away.”