Gay Chicago Celebrates Pride

Mon. June 28, 2004 12:00 AM by Kevin Wayne

400,000 Turn-Out to Celebrate Pride in Lakeview

Chicago, IL - Under beautiful sunny skies, an estimated 400,000 spectators lined the streets, rooftops and balconies to celebrate Gay Pride in Lakeview Sunday. Organizers of the 35th annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade note there has never been a rain-out in the parade’s long history. (Photos)

Former NFL player Esera Tuaolo served as special guest/grand marshal for the Parade. Tuaolo said that the honor far outweighs his gridiron glories. “I have always dreamed about being ‘out and proud!’ I keep pinching myself to confirm that this is real,” Tuaolo told before the parade. “Thank you Chicago for all your support!”

Mock weddings were a highlight in Chicago as the gay pride parade focused heavily on same-sex marriage. Sound-Bar won best float using a theme, with a wedding motif “Vive la Difference” featuring gay, lesbian and straight couples positioned on a wedding cake.

Huge cheers greeted about a dozen marchers from PFLAG--Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

During the parade, marked its one year anniversary since merging with (full story) The popular GLBT website’s float entry featured gay-supportive local personalities Michelle Leigh of Fox Chicago and morning personality DreX of 103.5 Kiss-FM. (full story)

" was overjoyed and appreciative to have had such wonderful friends on our float this year. In addition to showing their overwhelming support for the gay and lesbian community, Michelle and DreX helped us celebrate the parade in style with unity, pride and exuberance,” said R. Matthew Inawat, President.

The Gay Pride Parade becomes more mainstream each year. This year, the parade was edited for time and re-broadcast on ABC-7 late Sunday night. (full story)

With 237 registered entries and thousands of participants, the gay pride parade has grown to become Chicago's second-largest parade, behind the annual Bud Billiken Parade, which is also the largest African-American parade in the country. (Complete list of participants)

Just 150 people participated in the first Pride parade in Chicago in 1970.

“This year's parade was more colorful, with more elaborate, well thought-out floats,” commented Richard Pfieffer, PRIDEChicago Organizer.

Pride was held in dozens of communities over the weekend, including San Francisco, New York City, Houston, Atlanta and Toronto, where more than a million people lined streets for that city's pride parade.

Chicago Gay Pride Parade Photos

Chicago Gay Pride Parade Winners

Best All Around Float: Sidetrack

Best Organization Float (two winners!): SGI-USA and SANGAT Chicago

Best Business Float (two winners!): Berlin and Starbucks

Special Parade Award: Ketty & Paul Enterprises

Special Parade Award: FOLIABRAZIL

Best Float Using Theme: Sound-Bar (combined international theme, Vive la Difference, with wedding cake motif)