LAKEVIEW — Organizers for the city’s annual LGBTQ Pride Parade and festival have said they are hopeful the two celebrations will be held this year, but they could be pushed later into the year to give the city more time to recover from the pandemic and ensure safe gatherings.
The Pride Parade and festival are two separate events typically held in June to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprisings of 1969. Both were canceled last summer because of the pandemic.
“We’re waiting for municipal guidance for a late summer/early fall Pride Parade,” said Tim Frye, coordinator of the 2021 parade. “We had to cancel last year’s parade, but we’re cautiously optimistic that we can go forward — maybe a little later than usual — this year.”
If held this year, it will be the first parade organized without Frye’s late husband, Richard Pfeiffer, who died in October 2019 and had coordinated the parade since 1974.
Lake Alen, acting executive director and treasurer for the Northalsted Business Alliance, which plans the weekend-long Pride Festival that usually precedes the parade, said the event will likely be held later in the summer if the city signs off on it.
“We don’t want to rule out anything for June, but it’s very unlikely just because of how much time we’re going to have to plan it,” Alen said. “But we’re still optimistic we’ll do two festivals this season: one for Market Days in August and Pride Fest likely happening sometime after.”
The fate of Chicago’s 2021 festival season is still undecided. City officials have said they are hopeful a return to summer events will be possible but they’ve not made any commitments or approved any permits. Hundreds of event organizers have applied for city permits for 2021 celebrations, while others, like the Logan Square Arts Festival, already have canceled and will wait until 2022.
Midsommarfest in Andersonville also has been postponed until 2022.
Instead of a June festival, Alen said the business chamber will encourage people to celebrate Pride by support LGBTQ-owned businesses throughout Northalsted.
“We still want people to celebrate the sense of Pride this June and our significance as the first established gayborhood in the country, and our businesses could use the extra support after being shut down for almost an entire year,” Alen said.
Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.
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