Chicago, IL -
The 46th annual Chicago Pride Parade steps off at noon, Sunday, June 28, with the international theme, "Color Our World with Pride", which couldn't be more fitting after the Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling on Friday, June 26.
HISTORY: Pride parades are staged in over 135 cities worldwide with more than 70 of them in the United States and at least 12 taking place on the last weekend of June each year. The parades commemorate the Stonewall rebellion that took place on June 28, 1969, when patrons of a New York City gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, fought back during a raid by police. At that time gay bars were frequently raided across the country. That night, bar patrons fought the police and street demonstrations continued for several days. During that week gay liberation groups were formed, thus giving birth to the modern day LGBT rights movement.
PARADE ROUTE: The parade starts at 12 Noon at the corner of Montrose and Broadway, proceeding south on Broadway, then south on Halsted, then east on Belmont, then south on Broadway, then east on Diversey to Cannon Drive. Thousands of people line the parade route for the annual event.The parade will kick-off with the color guard headed up by the "Scouts For Equality" who will be carrying several flags including United States, State of Illinois, Cook County, City of Chicago and the rainbow Pride flags. The group is made up of Scouts and their supportive families and friends.The parade will contain 200 entries featuring colorful floats, decorated vehicles, marching bands and walking contingents representing community businesses, organizations, elected government officials and individuals.(Related: 2015 Chicago Pride Parade line of march) GRAND MARSHAL: The Grand Marshal for this year's parade is country music star, Ty Herndon, who began topping the country music charts nearly 20 years ago, came out publicly as a gay man during an interview with Entertainment Tonight a week before Thanksgiving 2014."I have struggled with being gay my entire career and life," Herndon told ChicagoPride.com just days after that interview. "Of course, I've had so much support from my friends and close family that supported me, that knew I was gay. But it's been so freeing for the fans to know; the fans in country music, especially. They have really been supportive and awesome."As a country music artist, Herndon's impressive career includes 17 Billboard hits and three number-one hits: "What Mattered Most," "Living in a Moment," and "It Must Be Love." Herndon released the album "Lies I Told Myself" in 2013. He is also a Grammy-nominated and Dove Award winning artist.(Related: Stanley Cup will be in Chicago Pride Parade, Sunday)
LESS ALCOHOL, MORE SECURITY: As ChicagoPride.com reported in April
, the parade will remain in the Lakeview/Uptown neighborhoods for this year. After more than 1 million people crowded into the neighborhoods last June and a number of arrests were reported, there were some suggestions to move the parade downtown.To help assure that the parade remains on the North Side, one of the problems that has to be curtailed is the illegal consumption of alcoholic beverages on the sidewalks and in the street. The city will enforce a zero-tolerance policy for public drinking, including fines up to $1,000 for open containers, all will have checkpoints along the route. Parade organizers are also providing 90 off-duty police officers along the parade route."While most parade attendees come to watch and enjoy the parade, potential spectators who plan to consume open containers of alcoholic beverages along the parade route are advised not to attend," according to parade coordinator Richard Pfeiffer. "We want this to be a pleasant, safe, healthy and fun day for everyone."STREET CLOSURES/TRANSPORTATION: Street closures include Montrose, Irving Park and Wellington at Broadway and Addison, Grace and Roscoe at Halsted. Streets should fully reopen by 8 p.m., provided it's deemed safe.City officials suggest people take public transportation, and the CTA will provide additional bus and rail service for the parade.The Red and Brown lines will operate more frequently — the Red from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and the Brown from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., according to the CTA. Additionally, the Brown, Blue and Orange Lines will have longer trains throughout the day.The North Avenue, Fullerton, Belmont and Montrose buses will have increased service, but the parade route will force other buses to reroute, including the Halsted, Clark, Broadway, Diversey, Belmont, Montrose, Irving Park, Sheridan and Addison routes. Check transitchicago.com for more information.PARADE ORGANIZERS: The parade is organized annually by PRIDEChicago (chicagopridecalendar.org) under the direction of Pfeiffer. The parade is a culmination of June Pride Month that each year features dozens of events such as choral concerts, athletic events, dances, festivals and workshops, to name a few.ChicagoPride.com will provide updates before, during and after on Twitter @GoPride.