Everything you need to know for Chicago Pride Fest 2018

Fri. June 15, 2018 7:00 PM by GoPride.com News Staff

chicago pride fest, 2016

photo credit // eamonn sexton

Chicago Pride Fest, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday

Spectacular live entertainment, delicious food, endless shopping and plenty of people-watching marks the onset of the annual Chicago Pride Fest to be held Saturday, June 16 and Sunday, June 17 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 and Grace. 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. 

What acts are performing?

Along with International R&B idol Mya and iconic diva Belinda Carlisle names including Chicago-native Carlito Olivero, Frenchie Davis, Kim English, Blake Lewis, Brian Justin Crumb, and Jessica Sanchez will take to the entertainment stages at Chicago Pride Fest.

(Related: Mya set to close out Chicago Pride Fest, June 17)

We can't forget Chicago's own bands who will represent, including the all-girl band Catfight and local favorites 16 Candles.

Other performers include Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, Chicago Spirit Brigade, Boy Band Review, One Night Band, and Abba Salute.

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 full entertainment schedule: Saturday, June 16 | Sunday, June 17

Our team has scoured the full lineup and has these recommendations for you.

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 bears, 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. The always popular Pet Pride Parade is on Sunday, June 17, at 12:00 p.m. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. at the North Stage. 

Will there be a Pride Parade?

Gay pride without a parade is like a gin and tonic without the gin ... bitter! The 49th annual Chicago Pride Parade will be held the following Sunday, June 24, at noon.

What should I wear?

It's going to be hot, hot HOT! So be prepared. High temperatures in the mid to upper 90's are forecast for the weekend. The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat watch as humidity could make it feel like 100 to 105 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. Dress accordingly, but look fierce!

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

#ChicagoPrideFest is the official hashtag for Northalsted Business Alliance, the event organizers. 

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

Anything else I should know?

No large bags/backpacks allowed, all bags will be inspected prior to entry. No coolers or outside beverages. Clear plastic sealed bottled water is allowed.

Interviews: Belinda CarlisleCarlito Olivero | Jessica Sanchez