Big changes for 2020 Market Days and Chicago Pride Fest as event dates shift

Fri. May 1, 2020 6:25 PM by News Staff

macy gray headlines 2019 market days

photo credit // steven koch

Northalsted Business Alliance, the group behind Pride Fest and Market Days, announces organizational restructuring

Northalsted Market Days, the Midwest's largest street festival, is being moved to Labor Day weekend, Sept. 5 - 6, and will be combined with Chicago Pride Fest, organizers confirmed to on Friday.

Northalsted Business Alliance, the group behind Pride Fest and Northalsted Market Days, announced last week they were postponing the 20th annual Pride Festival, originally scheduled for June 20 - 21, due to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The 39th annual Northalsted Market Days was originally scheduled for Aug. 8-9.

"While many summer festivals in Chicago have cancelled, many events have rescheduled for August, September and October in the hope that they will be allowed to occur. Our committee's current plan is to combine our two summer festivals, Pride Fest and Market Days, into one festival weekend for our community in 2020," said Festival Chairperson Mark Liberson.

"As we go forward into the summer we will be looking to the City of Chicago and State of Illinois for guidance and approval as their response to COVID-19 continues to evolve," he added.

The decision to combine the two major summer events appears to be financial, as Northalsted Business Alliance announced Friday a temporary restructuring of the organization due to the pandemic and diminished commercial activity in the district.

As of May 1, Executive Director Kevin Richards has been furloughed and Northalsted's Treasurer, Lake Alen, will assume the role of acting ED.

"We do not know what the situation will be this summer and fall, but are hopeful that by September there will be an opportunity to welcome people back to our streets in some manner that is both safe and celebratory," said Ramesh Ariyanayakam, president of the Northalsted Business Alliance.

Market Days draws nearly 100,000 people to the Boystown neighborhood each year.

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted the cancellation or postponement of major summer events, including Pride in the Park, Chicago Pride Fest, the famed Chicago Blues Fest and the House Music Conference.

Related: Chicago Pride Parade postponed for first time in 50-year history

Related: Chicagoans looking forward to Pride Month despite pandemic

Chicago LGBTQ COVID-19 Resources