The Chicago Pride Parade
, also colloquially (and formerly) called the Chicago Gay Pride Parade
or PRIDE Chicago
, is the annual gay pride parade
Pride parades for the LGBT community are events celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender culture. The events also at times serve as demonstrations for legal rights such as same-sex marriage...
held on the last Sunday of June in Chicago, Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...
in the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
. It is considered the culmination of the larger Gay and Lesbian Pride Month
Gay and Lesbian Pride Month is celebrated each year for the month of June. The last Sunday in June is celebrated as Gay Pride Day. On June 2, 2000, President Bill Clinton declared June "Gay & Lesbian Pride Month". In 2009, 2010, and 2011 U.S...
, as promulgated by the Chicago City Council
The Chicago City Council is the legislative branch of the government of the City of Chicago in Illinois. It consists of 50 aldermen elected from 50 wards to serve four-year terms...
and Mayor of Chicago
The Mayor of Chicago is the chief executive of Chicago, Illinois, the third largest city in the United States. He or she is charged with directing city departments and agencies, and with the advice and consent of the Chicago City Council, appoints department and agency leaders.-Appointment...
The first parade was organized on Saturday, June 27, 1970, as a march from Washington Square Park
Washington Square, also known as Washington Square Park, is a park in Chicago, Illinois. A registered historic landmark that is better known by its nickname Bughouse Square , it was the most celebrated open air free-speech center in the country as well as a popular Chicago tourist attraction...
("Bughouse Square") to the Water Tower
The Chicago Water Tower is a contributing property in the Old Chicago Water Tower District landmark district. It is located at 806 North Michigan Avenue along the Magnificent Mile shopping district in the Near North Side community area of Chicago, Illinois...
at the intersection of Michigan
Michigan Avenue is a major north-south street in Chicago which runs at 100 east south of the Chicago River and at 132 East north of the river from 12628 south to 950 north in the Chicago street address system...
and Chicago avenues, which was the route originally planned, and then many of the participants extemporaneously marched on to the Civic Center (now Richard J. Daley) Plaza. Today the parade takes place through the main streets of Lake View East, a neighborhood enclave of the Lakeview
Lake View, or Lakeview, is one of the 77 community area of the Chicago, Illinois, located in the city's North Side. It is bordered by West Diversey Parkway on the south, West Irving Park Road on the north, North Ravenswood Avenue on the west, and the shore of Lake Michigan on the east...
community area. Recent parades have started at noon on Halsted Street
Halsted Street is a major north-south street in the American city of Chicago, Illinois.-Location:In Chicago's grid system, Halsted street marks 800 West, one mile west of State Street, from Grace Street in Lakeview south to the city limits at the Little Calumet River in West Pullman...
, proceeding north from Belmont Avenue, passing the Center on Halsted
Center on Halsted is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community center in Chicago, Illinois. It is the largest LGBT Community Center in the Midwest with more than 1,000 people walking through its doors every day....
at Waveland Avenue; south on Broadway (at Grace Street) to Diversey Parkway and east on Diversey Parkway to Cannon Drive. Due to complaints of overcrowding and excessive drinking at the 2011 parade, beginning in 2012, the parade will begin at 10:00 a.m. The parade route will begin in the Uptown
Uptown is one of Chicago’s 77 community areas. Uptown has well defined boundaries. They are: Foster on the north; Lake Michigan on the east; Montrose , and Irving Park on the south; Ravenswood , and Clark on the west. Uptown borders three community areas and Lake Michigan...
neighborhood at the corner of Broadway and Montrose. The parade will then proceed south down Broadway to Halsted, continue south on Halsted to Belmont, then east on Belmont to Broadway where it will resume its former route.
With the increasing political participation of gay
Gay is a word that refers to a homosexual person, especially a homosexual male. For homosexual women the specific term is "lesbian"....
Lesbian is a term most widely used in the English language to describe sexual and romantic desire between females. The word may be used as a noun, to refer to women who identify themselves or who are characterized by others as having the primary attribute of female homosexuality, or as an...
, bisexual and transgender
Transgender is a general term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies to vary from culturally conventional gender roles....
Americans and the community's relatively high financial resources through political action groups and as individual donors, Illinois politicians have increased their presence at the Chicago Pride Parade. Both the Illinois Democratic and Republican parties have been heavily represented, most noticeably by former Governor
The Governor of Illinois is the chief executive of the State of Illinois and the various agencies and departments over which the officer has jurisdiction, as prescribed in the state constitution. It is a directly elected position, votes being cast by popular suffrage of residents of the state....
Rod R. Blagojevich is an American politician who served as the 40th Governor of Illinois from 2003 to 2009. A Democrat, Blagojevich was a State Representative before being elected to the United States House of Representatives representing parts of Chicago...
, a Democrat, and former Treasurer
A treasurer is the person responsible for running the treasury of an organization. The adjective for a treasurer is normally "tresorial". The adjective "treasurial" normally means pertaining to a treasury, rather than the treasurer.-Government:...
Judy Baar Topinka
Judy Baar Topinka is the Illinois State Comptroller and former Illinois State Treasurer, having served as Treasurer from 1995 to 2007, and former chairwoman of the Illinois Republican Party. She was the first woman to become state treasurer, first to be elected to three consecutive terms and the...
, a Republican. Both had strong support from many gay and lesbian voters.
On June 28, 2009 more than 500,000 spectators watched the 40th annual Chicago Pride Parade. Among the entries were several marching bands, dance troupes, twirlers, and many political figures. The 2010 parade featured an appearance from the Chicago Blackhawks' Brent Sopel
Brent Sopel is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman currently playing the Kontinental Hockey League and previously the National Hockey League .-Vancouver Canucks:...
and The Stanley Cup as part of the Chicago Gay Hockey Association's float. Sopel appeared in the parade to honor Brendan Burke
Brendan Gilmore Burke was an athlete and student manager at Miami University for the RedHawks men's ice hockey team...
, the gay son of the Maple Leafs' GM Brian Burke. The 2011 parade included 250 entries and was attended by over 800,000 spectators, almost double the previous year, causing massive overcrowding and resulted in a reorganization of the parade route for the 2012 parade..
Annual parade details
- June 28th, 1970: (1st) Attendance: 150-200 Parade Route: Bughouse Square, down Dearborn to Chicago Avenue, east to the Water Tower, then south on Michigan Avenue to the Civic Center (now Daley Plaza)http://www.chicagofreepress.com/node/1945
- June 27th, 1971: (2nd) Attendance: 1000 Parade Route: Diversey Harbor, going west to Clark Street, then south to the Free Forum at LaSalle Street http://www.chicagofreepress.com/node/1945
- June 25th, 1972: (3rd) Attendance:
- June 24th, 1973: (4th) Attendance:
- June 30th, 1974: (5th) Attendance:
- June 29th, 1975: (6th) Attendance:
- June 27th, 1976: (7th) Attendance:
- June 26th, 1977: (8th) Attendance: 3000 Parade Route: Halsted and Addison, going east to Broadway, south to Clark, then south on Clark to Fullerton, east on Fullerton to Stockton Drive, and finally south on Stockton to the Lincoln Park Free Foru http://www.chicagofreepress.com/node/1945
- June 25th, 1978: (9th) Attendance:
- June 24th, 1979: (10th) Attendance:
- June 29th, 1980: (11th) Attendance:
- June 28th, 1981: (12th) Attendance:
- June 27th, 1982: (13th) Attendance: 30,000http://www.chicagofreepress.com/node/1945
- June 26th, 1983: (14th) Attendance:
- June 24th, 1984: (15th) Attendance:
- June 30th, 1985: (16th) Attendance: 35,000
- June 29th, 1986: (17th) Attendance: 40,000
- June 28th, 1987: (18th) Attendance:
- June 26th, 1988: (19th) Attendance:
- June 25th, 1989: (20th) Grand Marshal: Mayor Daley (first sitting Chicago Mayor to lead the Chicago parade) Attendance:
- June 24th, 1990: (21st) Attendance: 100,000http://www.chicagofreepress.com/node/1945
- June 30th, 1991: (22nd) Attendance: 100,000+
- June 28th, 1992: (23rd) Attendance: 115,000
- June 27th, 1993: (24th) Attendance: 140,000
- June 5th, 1994: (25th) Attendance: 160,000http://www.chicagofreepress.com/node/1945
- June 25th, 1995: (26th) Attendance: 175,000
- June 30th, 1996: (27th) Attendance: 150,000
- June 29th, 1997: (28th) Attendance: 200,000
- June 28th, 1998: (29th) Attendance: 200,000+
- June 27th, 1999: (30th) Attendance: 250,000
- June 25th, 2000: (31st) Attendance: 350,000
- June 24th, 2001: (32nd) Attendance: 350,000
- June 30th, 2002: (33rd) Attendance: 350,000
- June 29th, 2003: (34th) Grand Marshal Billy Bean
William Daro "Billy" Bean is a former Major League Baseball player who made news in 1999 when he made his homosexuality public.-Career:...
; Attendance: 375,000http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=3252
- June 27th, 2004: (35th) Grand Marshal Esera Tuaolo
Esera Tavai Tuaolo is a retired American professional football player. He was a defensive lineman in the NFL for nine years.-Early life:...
; Attendance: 375,000http://www.chicagopride.com/news/article.cfm/ArticleID/2044404
- June 26th, 2005: (36th) Grand Marshal Wilson Cruz
Wilson Cruz is an American actor, known for playing Rickie Vasquez on My So-Called Life and a recurring character on Noah's Arc...
; Attendance: 450,000http://www.chicagopride.com/news/article.cfm/articleid/3121081
- June 25th, 2006: (37th) Grand Marshal George Takei
George Hosato Takei Altman is an American actor, author, social activist and former civil politician. He is best known for his role in the television series Star Trek and its film spinoffs, in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the...
; Attendance: 400,000http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-gaypride26.html
- June 24th, 2007: (38th) Grand Marshal John Amaechi
John Uzoma Ekwugha Amaechi OBE is a retired American-born British basketball player who currently works as a psychologist, educator and political activist in Europe and the United States....
; Attendance: 450,000http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-070624gay-pride,1,2647856.story?coll=chi-news-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true
- June 29th, 2008: (39th) "Live, Love, Be Proud"; Grand Marshal Eric Alva Attendance: 450,000http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/1031266,CST-NWS-pride30.article;
- June 28th, 2009: (40th) "Stonewall: 40 Years After"; Grand Marshal Alexandra Billings
Alexandra Scott Billings is an American transgender actress. She is the first trans woman to have played a transgender character on television.- Early life :...
; Attendance: 500,000
- June 27th, 2010: (41st) "One heart, One world, one pride"; Grand Marshal Chely Wright
Richell Rene "Chely" Wright is an American country music artist and, starting in 2010, gay rights activist. On the strength of her debut album in 1994, the Academy of Country Music named her Top New Female Vocalist in 1995. Wright's first Top 40 country hit came in 1997 with "Shut Up and Drive"...
; Attendance: 450,000 http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/2439382,CST-NWS-pride28.article http://www.chicagopridecalendar.org/parade.shtml
- June 26th, 2011: (42nd) Grand Marshal Fernanda Rocha; Attendance: 750,000 http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-110626-pride-parade-2011-photo,0,7061831.photogallery
Unless otherwise noted attendance estimates are from Chicago Sun-Times
The Chicago Sun-Times is an American daily newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois. It is the flagship paper of the Sun-Times Media Group.-History:The Chicago Sun-Times is the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the city...
Pride Parade Weather
As the Chicago Pride Parade is held on the last Sunday in June (except for in 1994), weather for the event is usually warm and dry. The average high temperature at O'Hare airport for parade day since 1970 is 83 degrees and the average low is 61. Additionally, on 22% of parade days there has been measurable precipitation. The warmest pride parade was 99 degrees in 1983. The wettest was in 1978 when 0.92 inches of rain fell.