Organizers of the Chicago Pride Parade this week applied for a parade permit, signaling hope for a possible return in 2021.
The application submitted on Wednesday lists the event date as June 27, which is the traditional date for the annual parade in Chicago – the last Sunday in June. However, organizers told GoPride.com that the date is “highly unlikely” as Chicago and the State of Illinois are now just beginning to relax COVID-19 restrictions.
“This is not a traditional year,” parade organizer Tim Frye told GoPride.com. “We need to ensure distance from COVID-19 and give enough time for recovery.”
Although the permit, which is a procedural item, officially sets plans for a 2021 parade into motion, the date remains uncertain as the Chicago City Council Special Events Committee won’t issue any permits until at least March 31 to ensure it’s safe to hold large events under pandemic mitigation efforts.
“We are waiting for municipal guidance for a late summer/early fall Pride Parade,’ Frye said. “We're cautiously optimistic that we can go forward – maybe a little later than usual - this year.”
Many health and government officials, including President Joe Biden, have targeted July 4 as a date when Americans can return to “small celebrations” as the number of coronavirus cases drop and more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Chicago’s Pride Parade is anything but small, typically attracting more than 1 million people to multiple northside neighborhoods, particularly Lakeview. The sheer size of the parade - with around 160 entries - and logistics for a large-scale public event remain a concern for city agencies and organizers as Chicago begins to recover from the pandemic.
Frye said updated parade information and application forms will go out, "when we have a better concept of the timing for a safe event.”
The parade was cut short due to inclement weather
in 2019 and cancelled in 2020, marking a first in its 50-year history.
If the parade steps off in 2021, it will be the first solely organized by Frye, whose late husband, Richard Pfeiffer, died in October 2019
. Pfeiffer coordinated the parade since 1974.Related: A look back at the Chicago Pride Parade: 1970 - 2018
The Northalsted Business Alliance
, which organizes Chicago Pride Fest, has not provided comment on its plans for June. In 2020, the organization planned to combine the festival with Northalsted Market Days in August. Eventually both events were cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
GoPride.com will continue to provide updates.Related: 2021 Milwaukee PrideFest June dates canceled due to coronavirus