Pride Month 2021 in Chicago
Chicago's Pride celebration consists of a full month of festivities and events, culminating with the annual Chicago Pride Parade, which traditionally takes place the last Sunday of June. The Pride festival takes place along North Halsted St. in the North Side neighborhood colloquially referred to a ‘Boystown’ the weekend prior to the parade. Pride in the Park, an outdoor music festival in Chicago’s historic Grant Park, made its debut in 2019.
The coronavirus pandemic brought all those plans to a halt in 2020.
This year, Pride in the Park returns Saturday, June 26 and Sunday, June 27. The Chicago Pride Parade was initially delayed until Sunday, October 3rd and eventually cancelled for 2021. Chicago Pride Fest returns Friday, October 1 - Sunday, October 3rd.
Remembering Richard Pfeiffer - May 14, 1949 - October 6, 2019
Richard William Pfeiffer, coordinator of the annual Chicago Pride Parade since 1974 and a member of Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, died Sunday, October 6, 2019. He was 70.
"One of our earliest and longest-serving activists, Rich Pfeiffer made history as he gave our community decades of committed, effective service," said Art Johnston, Sidetrack co-owner and co-founder of Equality Illinois. "Under Rich's year-round consistent leadership Chicago's Gay Pride Parade grew from a few hundred participants and observers to thousands of marchers and over a million viewers, reflecting the amazing growth of our communities."
Pfeiffer watched Chicago's first-ever parade in 1970, was a volunteer marshal at the second, third and fourth parades, and he volunteered to be the coordinator at the fifth parade in 1974. He held the title through this year's 50th annual Chicago Pride Parade.
Read more tributes below
When is Chicago Pride?
The Chicago Pride Fest two-day celebration traditionally takes place the weekend before the parade, but remains on hold for 2021. Pride in the Park is on Saturday, June 26 and Sunday June 27, 2021 at Butler Field in Grant Park.
The Chicago Pride Parade was initially rescheduled to Sunday, October 3 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The parade has since been cancelled for 2021.
Events: The Parade (CANCELLED)
The 51st annual Chicago Pride Parade marches through the city's Boystown neighborhood with the annual parade kicking off at noon on Sunday, October 3, 2021, at Montrose Avenue and Broadway in the Uptown neighborhood. The parade winds (map) its way through the north side of the city, ending near the intersection of Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road in Lincoln Park. Pride Month in June highlights Chicago's vibrant LGBT community. The energy in the city peaks on Pride Weekend, which traditionally falls on the last weekend of June each year to commemorate the Stonewall Riots.
More after the photo - 2019 Chicago Pride Parade, photo by Steven Koch for GoPride.com
The annual parade marks the uprising, outside New York’s landmark Stonewall Inn, which began the Gay Rights Movement. During Chicago Pride Fest the weekend prior, stages of music, exhibitors, great food and drinks will be available to enjoy. In the evening the revelers will pour into Boystown clubs and party into the wee hours of the night.
The roar of the crowd heralds the start of the Pride Parade, a dazzling cavalcade of diversity. The streets are lined 30 – 40 people deep in spots as over 1 million people cheer the contingents on and enjoy the show, culture and experience! For the liveliest viewing spots head to the Boystown section of North Halsted Street, between Belmont Avenue and Grace Street. If you are seeking a less crowded area to view the parade, look for your viewing spots north of Irving Park Road, along Broadway or further along Broadway between Belmont Avenue and Diversey Parkway.
> View the parade route and map
> Parade entries; how to enter (float or marching contingent) the Pride Parade
> 2021 will not feature Grand Marshals
> Viewing, dining and other tips for Pride weekends
Events: Pride in the Park
Pride in the Park will be back this June 26 - 27, 2021 – with twice the fun.
The inaugural Pride In The Park, held June 2019 in Grant Park in downtown Chicago, drew about 5,500 attendees. After being cancelled in 2020, Pride in The Park returns as a two-day festival.
Events: Chicago PrideFest (October 1 - 3, 2021)
On the weekend before the Pride Parade, Chicago's Northalsted neighborhood, commonly known as Boystown, hosts the PrideFest, the city's pre-Parade celebration with a half-mile of vendors and stages with a grand entertainment line-up.
More after the photo - 2019 Chicago Pride Fest, photo by Steven Koch for GoPride.com
History of Pride
The annual Pride Celebration commemorates the rebellion of LGBT patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York City's Greenwich Village in response to a routine police raid on June 27, 1969. The following year, a "Gay-In" took place on June 27, 1970 that was the early progenitor of the current Pride Celebration. Since 1972, the event has been held every year. Since its modest beginnings, Chicago Pride has grown to be one the largest and most well-known Pride events in the world. Pride has come to symbolize several things: the long history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender dignity, the freedom of all people to meaningfully and proudly express their sexual and gender identities, and the commitment of LGBT people to combat oppression.
Do I need a ticket to get into Pride?
There is no fee to attend the Pride Fest or watch the Parade. A voluntary donation is requested at the entry gates to Pride Fest. This donation goes back to community support programs. The Pride in the Park event on June 29 does require a ticket. Further information for that event can be found here.
Are pets allowed?
Yes, pets are allowed, including, of course, service animals assisting people with accessibility needs. We do, however, strongly recommend leaving pets at home since both the Parade and Festival are noisy, crowded, and hot.
Pets can sometimes be very startled by the crowds and sounds of Pride. In busy areas, it may be difficult to navigate with pets who will be walking on the ground given the high number of stomping feet moving through the crowd.
Remembering Richard Pfeiffer - May 14, 1949 - October 6, 2019
State Rep. Greg Harris: "I'm very sad and surprised to learn of Richard Pfeiffer's passing. For decades Richard was a fixture on the front lines of the struggle for LGBT+ rights as an activist, journalist for over 40 years, most notably as the leader of Chicago's Pride Parade. Today millions line the street to celebrate the accomplishments, culture, power and joy of the LGBT+ community. It's important though to remember that when the parade started in the 1970s it was very much an act of resistance against inequality and injustice. Richard's work over the years helped move us very very far, but the real meaning of Richard's work in our current political era is to remember that the struggle is as hard as it ever has been, and bringing the community together in solidarity makes us stronger as we fight back."
State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz: "Richard Pfeiffer was a pillar in our community and his passing is a profound loss for all of us. On the last Sunday of every June, Richard Pfeiffer was in charge of it all. Since some of the first Pride Parades in the 1970's Richard had his hand in growing the parade into an event that attracted millions of people who came to show their support and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. How lucky we were to have Richard with us at this year's parade to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. My heart goes out to his loved ones at this most difficult time."
Ald. James Cappleman: "Richard Pfeiffer was a pioneer for the LGBTQ+ community. His leadership with orchestrating the Pride Parade was instrumental in the coming out stories for so many of us, including me. We are forever grateful to him."
Mayor Lori Lightfoot: "Amy and I were very saddened to learn about the passing of Richard Pfeiffer. Richard was a tireless gay rights activist, whose boundless energy led him to lead countless advocacy groups over the past decades, from the Chicago Gay Alliance to the Mayor's Advisory Council, the Gay Speakers Bureau, along with many others. But Richard's greatest legacy lies in Chicago's own iconic Pride Parade, which for nearly 50 years he worked so hard to organize, guiding it to become the overwhelming celebration of love and acceptance that it is today. Richard was a living example of the power of speaking out and fighting for what you know is right. Our thoughts are with his beloved partner Tim, as well as the countless friends, family, and fellow activists Richard worked, laughed and celebrated with over the course of his incredible life."
Ald. Tom Tunney: "Chicago and our LGBT community lost a champion. Rich Pfeiffer dedicated his life to LGBT activism and service. The decades he gave organizing the Chicago Pride Parade helped make it one of the nation's most popular celebrations of diversity and acceptance. We owe a lot to Rich and will forever honor the legacy he leaves behind. My thoughts are with his husband Tim Frye and his family."