Navy Pier to host historic pride celebration Saturday

Fri. June 24, 2016 10:54 AM by Anthony Morgano

navy pier

photo credit // twitter/chicagosmayor

Navy Pier lights up for first ever Pride celebration, Saturday, June 25

Chicago, IL - Come and celebrate with Chicago's skyline and the new Millennium Wheel as your backdrop when Navy Pier gets decked out in rainbow colors to host its first ever Pride celebration this Saturday, June 25. The family-friendly event promises performances, a massive marriage ceremony, dancing and even a display of sections from The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.

"Throughout its 100-year history, Navy Pier has led the way in demonstrating compassion and commitment, while celebrating diversity and inclusiveness," Marilynn Gardner, President and Chief Executive Officer for Navy Pier, Inc., the nonprofit organization that operates Navy Pier, said in a press release. "Welcoming people of all backgrounds is at the heart of Navy Pier's core values. We are, truly, 'the People's Pier. We believe 'Navy Pier Pride 2016' will be an event that embraces the ideals of respect, tolerance, love, and inclusiveness."

The completely free event is one of the initial projects in Navy Pier's new Arts and Discovery programming initiative, bringing new artistic, cultural and community events to the city's largest tourist attraction.

Some highlights of the day include:

Noon - About Face Theatre's "It's For Real" -- a collection of stories based on the true experiences of the performers lives "that connects issues around race, class, sexuality, age, gender, self-esteem, and family."

1 p.m. - The Lakeside Marching Band leads a kickoff parade down the pier.

1:30 p.m. – Performances by the legendary "Milly's Orchid Show" -- a variety show that started in Chicago in the 90s and helped introduce us to the likes of Blue Man Group and David Sedaris -- featuring the likes of the beat boxing Yuri Lane, his 8 year-old daughter Delilah Rose, operatic star Alexa Grae, Robert Cornelius, House-O-Matic and more.

5 p.m. - "Chicago's Biggest Wedding," a massive marriage ceremony officiated by Angelica Ross, star of the hit series "Her Story" and a leading figure in the movement for trans* and racial equality. 

7 p.m. - An outdoor dance party featuring house music superstar DJ Ralphi Rosario in the Miller Lite Beer Garden.

10:15 p.m. - A moment of reflection to honor Pulse, Orlando and the lives lost, followed by a celebration of life with a special Pride-themed fireworks spectacular.

Navy Pier Pride also welcomes the return of The NAMES Project's AIDS Memorial Quilt. Growing from just one panel in San Francisco in 1987, the quilt -- which commemorates the lives of those lost to AIDS -- now features more than 48,000 panels and weighs 54 tons. Navy Pier was one of the first venues nationally to publicly display the quilt back in 1988 and is excited to bring back the Chicago-centric sections on Saturday.

The event is completely free and open to the public. For more information, go to

The 47th annual Chicago Pride Parade, which is expected to draw over 1 million people, will step-off at noon on Sunday, June 26 from Broadway and Montrose in the Uptown neighborhood. The parade will then travel south on Broadway; then south on Halsted; then east on Belmont; then south on Broadway; then east on Diversey to Cannon Drive.

Related: 2016 Chicago Pride Parade line of march