Kristen Kaza (left) and Keewa Nurullah, organizers of the Pride Jam, wearing T-shirts that will be sold to support the festival. Credit: Provided/Ajah Lexi Productions
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — The rescheduled Queer Fam Pride Jam, an all-ages LGBTQ+ Pride celebration, is on for next month.

The Pride Jam will take place 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 3 at the Salt Shed Fairgrounds, 1357 N. Elston Ave. People can RSVP to attend the free event here.

The festival — a collaboration between long-standing queer dance party Slo ‘Mo and the South Loop children’s boutique Kido — will feature live entertainment, activities and a food and retail vendor market.

The Pride Jam was originally scheduled for June 17, but organizers Kristen Kaza from Slo ‘Mo and Keewa Nurullah of Kido made the decision to postpone the celebration after a man died nearby.

Hundreds of families were lined up outside the venue, including some who traveled from the suburbs or neighboring states, when the event was postponed, Kaza said. The festival had an estimated attendance of 3,000 people.

“Our pride is all year,” Kaza said. “We talk about how important it is for people to show up for LGBTQ+ people and businesses all year long, so it’s really wonderful that we have this opportunity and platform to do that.”

The Queer Fam Pride Jam team posed for a photo before the festival was ultimately rescheduled. Credit: Provided/Ama Merrell Photography

Most of the vendors, performers and artists who were scheduled for the Pride Jam’s first date are returning, Kaza said. They’ve also been able to add a few more elements to the festival since rescheduling, including an accessibility guide and some new activities.

Drag artist and queer event organizer Abhijeet will lead the Pride Jam’s drag area, where local drag stars will paint children’s makeup and perform for them, Kaza said.

“The drag performance will end with a participatory element with the attendees, so that’s something really exciting,” Kaza said.

Other activities include a sing-a-long by children’s musician Miss Katie, a skateboard area facilitated by Natty Bwoy Bikes & Boards and house music dance lessons by legendary choreographer Boogie McClarin, Kaza said. The Pride Jam will culminate in an all-ages Slo ‘Mo dance party.

“Because this is a Slo ‘Mo collaboration, we’re really excited about the joy and party element of this event,” Nurullah said. “We’ve got an incredible DJ lineup and will have activations centered around families dancing together. It’s going to be a big celebration of joy.”

The market will feature 24 food and retail vendors, Kaza said. Many of the participating vendors are from LGBTQ+ and BIPOC-owned businesses.

Spirit-free drinks will be available thanks to a sponsorship from Lululemon and a cash bar provided by the Salt Shed will be open for adult beverages.

Hair Has No Gender, a business program that educates salon owners and stylists on inclusive and gender-free techniques, had set up at the Pride Jam’s first date. Credit: Provided/Ama Merrell Photography

Kaza and Nurullah, who are both mothers, were inspired to create the Pride Jam after feeling an absence of LGBTQ+ events that also considered families and kids, Nurullah said.

But the event isn’t exclusive to LGBTQ+ families, Nurullah said. Allies and the larger LGBTQ+ community are strongly encouraged to attend.

“Now more than ever we need allies to pull up and support queer and trans kids to affirm that they matter,” Nurullah said. “In producing this event, we’re saying now is the time to stand up to the bullies, and physical solidarity from our allies is important.”

Information and updates on the Pride Jam will be shared on the Instagram accounts for Slo ‘Mo and Kido. Event reminders and updates will also be sent to those who RSVP here.

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