All you need to know for Chicago Pride Fest 2016

Sat. June 18, 2016 9:02 AM by News Staff

chicago pride fest, 2015

photo credit // dave ouano

The essential guide to the 14th annual Chicago Pride Fest

Spectacular live entertainment, delicious food, endless shopping and plenty of people-watching marks the onset of the 14th annual Chicago Pride Fest to be held Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19 in Chicago's Boystown neighborhood.

Opening at 11 a.m. on Saturday, the two-day street festival turns North Halsted Street into one enormous Pride party with 2 entertainment stages, plus a dance music stage featuring some of Chicago's favorite DJs and drag queens. Plus a whole lot of queer and queer-friendly folks in attendance.

Where's the party?

One word: Boystown! Once there, follow the herd of excited revelers, or the gaggle of drag queens, or just follow the music. But seriously, Pride Fest is located on North Halsted between Addison St. and Grace St. Gates open both days at 11 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.

Is there a charge for admission?

Not officially, but a $10 donation is suggested. Your donation will support the Northalsted Business Alliance, which hosts major events throughout the year including Chicago Pride Fest, Northalsted Market Day, the Halloween Parade and Frost Fest, and will go towards keeping Boystown safe and fun for all. 

Also, expect longer entry lines with greater attention to detail at the gates. A separate entry has been created for those bringing bags — contents will be checked — and organizers encourage people to leave their bags at home. (Read more about Pride Fest security)

What acts are performing?

Along with American Idol Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks other popular names including former Danity Kane members Aubrey O'Day and Shannon Bex of Dumblonde and rising star Daya of 'Hide Away' fame will take to the stage at Chicago Pride Fest. 

We can't forget Chicago's own bands who will represent, including Wedding Banned and Rod Tuffcurls.

Other performers include Boy Band Review, Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, Emii, Fabio Campos, Goldhouse, Jason Maek & Zaena, Lakeside Pride Orchestra, Luciana, My Gold Mask, One Night Band, Rod Tuff Curls and Sushi Roll.

And of course, what's a festival without drag queens and female impersonators!

Is there's a complete schedule that I can look at?

Check out the listings for Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19.

Are there other things to do or see?

If people watching is your thing, grab a refreshment watch the throng of festival attendees. With over 50,000 are expected to attend, there will be no shortage of eye-candy for sure.

In addition to the live entertainment, Pride Fest will include 60 arts and craft vendors, as well as sellers of unique merchandise tailored to the LGBTQ community.

I hear bears will be at Pride Fest, will there be other furry animals?

We hear cubs and otters will be at the festival too. But if you're not into two-legged furry animals, there will be a fun event for the four-legged kind. Chicago's own Miss Foozie will host the always popular Pet Pride Parade on Sunday, June 19, at 12:30 p.m.

Will there be a Pride Parade?

Gay pride without a parade is like a gin and tonic without the gin ... bitter! The Pride Parade will be held the following Sunday, June 26, at noon.

What should I wear?

The weather is expected to be muy caliente! Look fierce.

I want to tweet and instagram Chicago Pride Fest. Is there a hashtag for the event?

#OurStory, which is part of the "It's Our Story" Pride Month initiative by the Northalsted Business Alliance. (

We want to see all of you using it! If you want to reach we are @GoPride on Twitter and Instagram.

Let's do this! - 2016 Chicago Pride Calendar