Chicago Gay Pride Parade steps-off at noon

Sun. June 27, 2010 8:59 AM by Brett Anthony

chicago gay pride parade 2009

photo credit // anthony meade

Chicago Blackhawks, Stanley Cup and Chicago Cubs make first time appearance in Pride Parade

Chicago, IL - A crowd of over half a million people is expected to gather this afternoon for the 41st annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood.

The parade will set to step-off at noon from Belmont and Halsted.

Pride Chicago, the parade organizer, says there are 250 registered entries including floats, decorated vehicles, performance groups and marching bands. Most notable entries this year include the Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Cubs, participating for the first time.

Brent Sopel, the defenseman who won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks before being traded to Atlanta earlier this week, will carry the Stanley Cup in the parade. This is the first time the Stanley Cup has been in a gay pride event. has learned Sopel will still participate in the parade despite being traded.

The Chicago Cubs have made the bold decision to enlist "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks to represent the team. The Cubbies will have a float decked out in a brick-and-ivy motif like Wrigley Field's outfield wall. Wrigley Field is located in Lakeview and shares the same neighborhood as Boystown, Chicago's LGBT neighborhood.

The entries represent community organizations, businesses, government officials and individual community members.

"I am proud to represent the most spirited legislative district
in the state of Illinois," State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-12) told this morning as she prepares to march in the parade. "I reflect on the roads we have traveled, what we have accomplished together and that our work is far from done.

The Grand Marshal is country music singer Chely Wright, who recently came out publicly as a lesbian. Her memoir, "Like Me," and new album, "Lifted Off the Ground," were recently released.

After stepping off at noon, the parade will take approximately two and one-half hours to finish crossing the Belmont & Halsted corner. After this time, the floats will still be winding their way to the end of the parade route at Diversey and Sheridan.

"Everyone should come to this parade, it's the best parade in this world," said Feigenholtz.

Weather Update: Fox Chicago meteorologist Amy Freeze forecasts showers and strong storms today with heavy rain and big winds a possibility.