Third annual Navy Pier Pride celebrates LGBTQ+ community and culture with fun, family-friendly pride

Thu. June 7, 2018 7:51 AM

navy pier pride

photo credit // heidi zeiger photography / navy pier

Free event includes Storytime with Drag Queens, live performances, special film presentations, new “Queer the Pier” fashion and music show headlined by special guest CeCe Peniston, and more

Chicago, IL - Kicking off Monday, June 18, the third annual free Navy Pier Pride event will consist of a full week of family-friendly festivities in honor of the LGBTQ+ community, culminating in a daylong grand celebration on Saturday, June 23 from 11 a.m. to midnight. As part of its Pride Month tribute, the Pier will also be decked out with Pride flags all month and feature the symbolic rainbow colors in the center digital screen of the iconic Centennial Wheel in celebration of diversity and inclusion, two essential tenants of Navy Pier's mission and values.

On Monday, June 18, catch a special film presentation of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as part of Water Flicks, Navy Pier's free, 10-week movie series offered every Monday at 7 p.m. at the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park. The 1994 comedy follows two drag performers and a transgender woman as they travel across the desert to perform their unique style of cabaret. As part of this year's "sing-along summer" movies theme, guests are encouraged to sing and dance to the famous tunes featured within the flicks. Free popcorn will be available to guests on a first-come-first-served basis, courtesy of Navy Pier IMAX at AMC.

On Thursday, June 21, enjoy live instructional dance by Tina Go-Go and musical performances by Little Queens as part of Live on the Lake!, Navy Pier's free concert series held in the Miller Lite Beer Garden every Wednesday through Sunday from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. First, learn to Go-Go dance with local instructor Tina Stasny. Then, apply the new moves to the upbeat music of Little Queens, featuring Aerin Tedesco, Andrea Bunch, Janet Cramer and Greg Nergaard.

The main event on Saturday, June 23 will lead with the opening of the Chicago Children's Museum's Family Resource and Activity Station from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the South Dock. The station gives guests the opportunity to learn about the Museum's resources for LGBTQ+ families and participate in pride-themed arts and crafts activities. At noon, catch Storytime with Drag Queens, presented in partnership with Chicago Children's Museum, at the West Platform on the South Dock. Enjoy a special reading of classic children's books by a few of Chicago's fun and fabulous drag queens.

From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., guests are welcome to browse the Resource Village along the South Dock, which offers information and resources from LGBTQ+ organizations, such as Howard Brown Health, PFLAG and more. At 1:30 p.m. join the Lakeside Pride Marching Band for a festive musical procession down the South Dock, followed by music by DJ Rae Chardonnay from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wave Wall Platform as part of Wave Wall Wax, a free live DJ series presented every Saturday through Labor Day weekend. At 3 p.m., enjoy a special performance by Chicago Gay Men's Choir in the Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion. From 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., head to the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park to catch a special screening of the 2017 indie comedy-drama, Signature Move, presented in partnership with New City. The film's star and screenwriter, Fawzia Mirza, is scheduled to be in attendance.

New to the lineup this year, Navy Pier teamed up with No Small Plans' queer party impresario Kristen Kaza to produce Queer the Pier, a special program that travels sonically and visually throughout the history of queer club culture. Audio Jack – resident DJ of Slo 'Mo: Slow Jams for Queer Fam, one of Chicago's longest running LGBTQ+ dance parties – kicks off the festivities in the Miller Lite Beer Garden at 5 p.m. with R&B, disco and house favorites. Other artists include Puerto Rican vocalist, songwriter, musical theater composer and actor, MICHA, at 7 p.m., followed by local R&B vocalist, Adam Ness, and special guests performing "queer club anthems" with a live band. The program also features a fashion show highlighting queer club looks through the decades, modeled by Chicago nightlife personalities, emceed by bearded beauty Lucy Stoole and devised by vintage shop Kokorokoko, with additional creative direction by performer and choreographer Darling Shear.

Special guest Cece Peniston, celebrating 20 years of the LGBTQ+ anthem, "Finally," headlines the program ahead of Navy Pier's signature Aon Summer Fireworks.

Navy Pier Pride is p[resented by American Airlines and is part of the Pier's ongoing commitment to offer guests free, one-of-a kind arts and culture programming, designed to inspire, educate and connect communities and guests across the city and globe. For more information, visit or download the Navy Pier app on any Android or iOS device.