Chicago celebrates 50 years of pride with first-ever 'Pride in the Park' festival

Fri. March 15, 2019 11:00 AM by Ross Forman

grant park

Grant Park will host the inaugural ‘Pride in the Park’ on June 29

Chicago, IL - The first-ever Pride in the Park Chicago will be held Saturday, June 29, in Grant Park, featuring live music performances by international and local talent, performances by several former contestants of RuPaul's Drag Race, top-of-the-line stage production, food vending by DineAmic Group, and a fireworks show.

About 15,000 are expected to attend.

"Chicago is unique in that, at the end of June, we have two huge weekends of Pride celebrations: Chicago Pride Fest (is) Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend, and then the Chicago Pride Parade is on the Sunday of the following weekend," said Chicagoan Dusty Carpenter, the president of Dreambrite, which is presenting Pride in the Park Chicago. "Every year, friends have asked me what to do on the Saturday before the parade. I always used to suggest visiting the major Chicago tourist destinations and the hotspots in Boystown. (But), after attending music festivals both here and in other cities, I started thinking it would be great to have one as a part of Chicago's Pride celebrations.

"Grant Park is one of Chicago's most iconic spaces and the perfect place to show visitors some of the city's best views. The park is internationally-known for being the home of Lollapalooza, Taste of Chicago, Cloud Gate, aka, The Bean, and Buckingham Fountain. It's the perfect venue to show some of the best of Chicago. Plus, it's centrally located and very easy to get to.

"Holding (Pride in the Park) in Grant Park puts the LGBT community front and center.

"Just thinking about looking around at our amazing skyline while celebrating Chicago Pride and listening to great music gives me chills."

Carpenter, 36, conceived the idea for Pride in the Park years ago, though it only became a working project about 18 months ago. He wants the event to be "an incredible experience," one that attendees "will never forget ... and a fitting pre-party for one of the biggest Pride parades in the world."

Carpenter said he is excited to partner with DineAmic, one of Chicago's best restaurant groups, which will be featuring well-known concepts, such as Bar Siena, Public House and BomboBar at the Fest. "All festival menus will consist of plentiful options, perfect to fuel you for the weekend ahead," he said.

"There will be something for everyone at Pride in the Park Chicago," Carpenter added. "Music will run the gamut – from EDM to hip hop/rap, from '80s hits to pop.  And expect the kind of stage production and light show that you would see at a major EDM festival or rock concert."

The entertainment list is still being finalized, Carpenter said.

"We hope to build this event into something people yearly travel to Chicago for, and something that adds to the already-amazing Chicago Pride experience," Carpenter said.

The full lineup of entertainers will be announced April 1.

"We're thrilled to be hosting the first LGBTQ festival/concert held in Grant Park," Carpenter said.

A portion of all ticket sales to Pride in the Park Chicago will be donated to the Center on Halsted.  Additional contributions will be made to Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago by volunteers from Stonewall Sports Chicago, who will be donating their time working at the festival.

General admission tickets will start at $50 and VIP tickets start at $100.  Kids under 11 will be admitted without a ticket, but must be accompanied by a ticket-holding adult, with a limit of two kids per adult.

Pride in the Park Chicago will run from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 29 at Butler Field in Grant Park. For more information, go to:

The 50th annual Chicago Pride Parade is Sunday, June 30 at Noon in Chicago's Uptown and Lakeview neighborhoods.