Chicago Pride Parade a no-go for June, set to step-off in October 2021

Wed. May 26, 2021 8:55 AM by News Staff

chicago pride parade cut short due to storms

photo credit // steven koch

2021 Chicago Pride Parade planned for Sunday, October 3rd as a kick-off to LGBTQ Pride History Month

One of the nation's oldest and largest LGBTQ celebrations, the Chicago Pride Parade will take place on Sunday, Oct. 3, organizers confirmed with

Usually the capstone of Pride month in Chicago, the parade was to take place on the last Sunday of June. This will be the second year it will not take place on that appointed day.

The decision comes as new SARS-CoV-2 infections and hospitalizations have declined in Illinois. But planning a large-scale event takes time—and concerns about the coronavirus pandemic remain, organizers explained.

“This is not a traditional year,” parade coordinator Tim Frye told this spring. “We need to ensure distance from COVID-19 and give enough time for recovery.”

The second-largest parade in Chicago, Pride attracts more than one million people to the Lakeview and Uptown neighborhoods—especially the LGBT enclave popularly known as 'Boystown.'

Pride's sheer size—with around 160 entries—and logistics for such an event is a concern for not only parade organizers but also the City of Chicago and its first responders.

The parade was cut short due to inclement weather in 2019 and canceled in 2020—marking a first in its 50-year history.

The parade, and Northalsted Business Alliance's festival Chicago Pride Fest, were replaced by televised and live-streamed 'virtual' celebrations as the pandemic shut down such events across the nation—and the world.

While the absence of Chicago's marquee Pride month event again this year, a number of suburban Pride events are still on tap for June.

Additionally, organizers of Pride in the Park announced their two-day outdoor festival will return to Grant Park on Saturday, June 26 and Sunday, June 27 with limited capacity.

This will be the first year that the Chicago Pride Parade will be organized solely by Frye. His late husband, Richard Pfeiffer, was responsible for each Pride parade since 1974.

Pfeiffer died in 2019.

Frye is glad for an October date for the parade. But he noted a return to its traditional last Sunday of June in 2022—June 26.

"This is a one-time change in the date," Frye said. "This was made necessary by COVID-19 and concerns for the safety of participants and onlookers were a parade to take place in June of this year."

Frye confirmed the 21-block parade route will remain the same this year. The parade is expected to step off at Noon. Temperatures in early October average in the mid-60s. 

While President Joe Biden is expected to declare June as Pride Month in the U.S., October has been observed as LGBTQ Pride History Month—to honor the accomplishments of the community and its members throughout American and world history.

Related: Headliners announced for Pride in the Park Chicago, June 26 & 27

Related: BG Pride Drive returns June 6 for Pride Month