NORTHALSTED — The annual Chicago Pride Parade has been canceled for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Organizer Tim Frye announced Wednesday that the parade, which had been pushed back from June to Oct. 3 to give the city more time to recover from the pandemic, is canceled again this year amid rising COVID-19 cases.
“We really wanted and hoped that there could be a parade in 2021,” Frye said in an open letter announcing the cancellation. “We don’t feel, though, that we can do it safely for everyone in the parade and the people watching. We must cancel the parade for the second year.”
The parade, which attracts thousands to Chicago’s Northalsted neighborhood to celebrate LGBTQ pride, could still happen next year, Frye said. The festivity is tentatively scheduled for June 26, 2022.
“We’re going to believe that in June 2022 we are living in a far safer world than now,” Frye said. “We intend to have the best, most joyous, fabulous and memorable Pride Parade ever. Count on it!”
Next year will mark the first time the parade will be organized solely by Frye after his husband, Richard Pfeiffer, died in 2019.
Frye and his husband came out as gay after watching a Pride Parade, he said.
“I always imagine that one person (or more) that comes to the parade sees what can be in their life. They can have a happy, productive life and be LGBTQI+,” Frye said. “We missed that person in 2020 and now 2021, [but] we won’t miss them again in 2022 or after.”
The city has allowed large gatherings — including LGBTQ-friendly festival Market Days and Lollapalooza, a massive musical festival — as people have gotten vaccinated. But there have been COVID-19 cases related to those events, and the city is in the midsts of another surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
COVID-19 vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. The vaccines have been shown to largely prevent COVID-19, as well as severe illness and death from the virus.
Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.
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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