June brings stormy and emotional return to Pride as Chicago reopens

Wed. June 30, 2021 10:23 AM by Kevin Wayne

pride in the park draws thousands despite stormy weather

photo credit // steven koch

Pride in the Park weathers storm, draws thousands to Grant Park

Pride celebrations returned this year in Chicago, including the largest—Pride in the Park at Grant Park.

Severe weather put the two-day outdoor musical festival on pause Saturday, but festivities resumed later in the day and returned in full on Sunday.

“It was crazy on Saturday,” said Matthew Harvat—popularly known as CircuitMOM. “Tornado warnings, evacuations, mass flooding, ankle deep mud, missing equipment and delayed talent flights.”

“But, we went on!”

CircuitMOM Productions managed their own on-site stage with performances by drag kings and drag queens and world-famous deejays.

"It wouldn't have been possible without the incomparable talent of our deejays, drag performers, dancers and their 'we're here soaking wet and filthy, but we're gonna have fun and dance our asses off anyway' energy," added Harvat. 

Musical acts, including headliners Chaka Khan, Gryffin, and Tiësto, took to the stage in what was the first live concert event in Chicago since the coronavirus pandemic began.

A portion of Pride in the Park ticket sales will be donated to the Center on Halsted.

Last year, Pride in the Park and most Pride celebrations were canceled due to pandemic-related restrictions.

This year, the Chicago Pride Parade was moved to October 3—through its normal route from Uptown into the Lakeview neighborhood enclave popularly known as Boystown remains the same. 

'People's Pride' march demands equality 

An alternative to the parade, Pride without Prejudice reprised its march of last year. About 200 activists trudged through Lakeview demanding equality within the LGBTQ community on Sunday.

“Pride in not a f*cking party,” said organizer Ashabi Owagboriaye, reminding the crowd that Pride history is rooted in Black and Brown queer resistance.

The march took place on what would have been the original date for the Pride parade.

Chicago Urban Pride focuses on unity, draws thousands to Jackson Park

Urban Pride focused on celebrating Pride on the opposite end of Chicago—in Jackson Park. The group hosted four weekend events for LGBTQ people of color, friends and family, from the South and West Side neighborhoods of Chicago.

Pride North faces criticism over gate donation policy

Meanwhile on the Far North Side, Colm Treacy hosted his annual Pride North in Rogers Park—with drink booths and deejays spinning their beats for two days.

The event was marred by allegations, confirmed by Ald. Maria Hadden (49th), that Treacy misled patrons and would-be patrons to pay a mandatory $20 cover charge. City of Chicago does not allow such charges when festivals are hosted on public streets. Suggested donations are accepted, however.

Northalsted attracts largest crowd since pandemic

Several popular bars and nightclubs on the Northalsted corridor hosted their own Pride events with drink specials and entertainment—likely making last weekend the most profitable since the pandemic began.

Even Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and wife Amy visited Replay Lakeview and Sidetrack on Saturday. 

Related: Rainbows, rain and love filled Pride In The Park – and a wedding proposal