Chicago, IL -
Chicago Pride festivities kick into high gear this weekend, with celebrations throughout the city leading up to the Chicago Pride Parade in Boystown on Sunday.The 47th annual Chicago Pride Parade starts at noon - rain or shine - Sunday from Broadway and Montrose in the Uptown neighborhood. The parade marches under the international theme, "Solidarity Through Pride."Pride Parades are staged in over 150 cities worldwide with more than 90 of them in the United States and at least 12 taking place on the last weekend of June each year.HISTORY: 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 back 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.Related: History of the Chicago Pride ParadeBEFORE THE PARADE: A "Moment of Silence" in memory and commemoration of the 49 lives lost in Orlando will take place at 11:59 a.m.PARADE KICK-OFF: At noon behind the parade's front banner, the photos/names of each of the 49 women and men who were killed at Pulse Nightclub will be carried in the parade procession by individuals to commemorate and celebrate their lives.Followed by the color guard headed up by the "Scouts For Equality" who will be carrying several flags including the State of Florida in honor of the Orlando victims.The parade will then proceed and continue as a celebration of life, love and pride.PARADE ROUTE: The parade starts at noon from 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. (MAP)The parade will include 160 entries featuring colorful floats, decorated vehicles, marching bands and walking contingents representing community businesses, organizations, elected governmental officials and individuals.Related: Chicago Pride Parade line of marchGRAND MARSHAL: The Grand Marshal for this year's parade is accomplished television and stage actress Monica Raymond, who stars as Gabriela Dawson in NBC's hit show Chicago Fire. She has lived and worked in Chicago for four years, where the show is taped. She came out publicly two years ago and considers herself a "proud member of the LGBTQ communities.""I'm in love with Chicago. I feel like it is my home," she said in a radio interview with Out Chicago. Raymund will be riding in a car near the front of the parade procession.LESS ALCOHOL, MORE SECURITY: Even before concerns over the Orlando tragedy, parade organizers announced a plan to increase the security presence along the 21-block parade route, nearly doubling the number of off-duty police officers from 90 last year to 160 this year.Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced there will be an increased presence of uniformed police officers, including officers on bike, civilian-dressed officers throughout the event and specially trained canines. Johnson stressed there is no evidence of a threat against the LGBT community in Chicago.Like last year, a zero-tolerance policy for drinking along the parade route will be enforced with checkpoints along the route and could result in fines up to $1,000 for open containers."If people come to the parade with open bottles of alcohol, they are stopped," longtime parade organizer Richard Pfeiffer told
ChicagoPride.com. "That will be done again, and that's true of every parade (in Chicago), not unique to (just) the Pride Parade."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. SATURDAY NIGHT PARTIES: To celebrate its fourth anniversary, Chicago-based dance party producer Neverland presents "The Lost Boys" at Metro, 3730 N. Clark, beginning at 11 p.m. The event will be a character-driven fantasy, featuring a massive set. Plus, Barcelona-based DJ Ivan Gomez will man the decks alongside Chicago's own Alexis-R. Related: A wild, over-the-top Neverland Pride to coincide with Chicago PrideDJ Chris Cox spins Hydrate Nightclub, 3458 N. Halsted, on Saturday night followed Sunday by a 17-hour dance party with DJ Jesse Mercado. Pride Sunday, watch the parade at the iconic corner of Belmont & Halsted. Seven Nightclub, 3206 N. Halsted, will open its doors at 11 a.m. And
ChicagoPride.com hosts a post-parade party at Cesar's, 2924 N. Broadway. Join us before, during and after the parade for a Killer Margarita. Cesar's will open at 11 a.m. and show the parade on its TVs. For other Pride weekend activities, check the 2016 Chicago Pride Calendar.