Shorter Chicago Pride Parade A ‘Tremendous Success,’ Organizers Say (2024)

LAKEVIEW — Despite an earlier start and a shorter route, Chicago’s 2024 Pride Parade was a success, according to organizers and attendees.

Sunday’s parade stepped off an hour earlier at 11 a.m. and ended at 2 p.m., meeting this year’s goal. In previous years, the Pride Parade sometimes lasted over four hours, straining the city’s resources for traffic control, police staffing and other duties.

The parade also removed Uptown from the route, starting at the intersection of Broadway and Sheridan instead of Broadway and Montrose.

“Although downsized — or what we like to view as optimized — the parade was a tremendous success, full of celebration, joy and happiness,” PRIDEChicago, the organization in charge of putting on the parade, said Monday in a statement to Block Club. “Our all-volunteer organization is humbled by the overwhelming positive feedback we’ve received from participants, spectators and various city agencies.”

Parade attendee Bianca Ji said the shorter route was a bonus.

“Having it shorter, I feel, helps to get more people a chance to see the entirety of the parade,” Ji said. “I haven’t really noticed much of a difference. My favorite float had to be Sidetrack. They’re fun!”

Shorter Chicago Pride Parade A ‘Tremendous Success,’ Organizers Say (1)

This year’s parade theme was “Pride is Power,” highlighting the Chicago Pride Parade’s role in creating visibility and change for LGBTQ+ people since its first march in 1970.

“It was wonderful seeing the LGBTQ+ community and allies celebrate joyfully,” Jin-Soo Huh, chair of the mayor’s LGBTQ+ advisory council, told Block Club. “Pride is a celebration and a demonstration of showing that we should not have to hide who we are. I look forward to finding ways the LGBTQ+ advisory council can work with the city, the Pride parade organizers, the LGBTQ+ community and other stakeholders to make sure Chicago continues to be a beacon of LGBTQ+ rights.”

Three couples served as grand marshals: Fortune Feimster and Jax Smith, Art Johnston and Jose “Pepe” Peña and Myles and Precious Brady-Davis.

Shorter Chicago Pride Parade A ‘Tremendous Success,’ Organizers Say (2)

Comedian, writer and actor Fortune Feimster and her wife, Jax Smith, met at Chicago Pride nearly a decade ago in 2015, days after the Supreme Court’s historic ruling that legalized marriage equality.

Art Johnston and Jose “Pepe” Peña, local LGBTQ+ rights pioneers, are co-owners of Sidetrack and the focus of the critically acclaimed documentary “Art and Pep.”

Precious Brady-Davis made history when she became the first Black, transgender woman appointed to public office in Cook County. She and Myles have been married since 2016 and have spent over a decade organizing and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights.

“Our Grand Marshals epitomize this year’s theme of ‘Pride is Power,’ not just through their own achievements, but through their unwavering support and commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ rights and visibility,” PrideChicago said in a statement.

Arrests Hours After Parade

Though the parade itself ran smoothly, more than 50 people, including nine juveniles, were arrested in Lakeview early Monday.

At about 1:23 a.m. Monday, officers made a mass arrest in the 3000 block of North Clark Street, police said — about 12 hours after the parade had ended.

Witnesses told ABC7 they saw people jumping on cars and CTA buses, throwing bottles at police and fighting. One video posted on social media at 2:09 a.m. Monday appears to show officers and revelers clashing in the street, with some people being shoved.

In all, police made 53 arrests late Sunday night and early Monday morning and recovered four firearms. Fourteen people have been charged with felonies that include aggravated battery of a police officer, aggravated assault on a transit employee as well as drug and firearm-related charges, police said.

Those charged include five teens ranging from 14 to 18 years old, according to police.

“violent thugs” #chicago #pride #riot #police #cpd #belmont #ACAB pic.twitter.com/t2aEoUxc3F

— balls mccartney 🇰🇪 (@normalguy246) July 1, 2024

Ald. Bennett Lawson (44th) said in a statement that while the parade was a safe and wonderful celebration overall, he was “extremely disappointed” to hear of the arrests and “disruptive actions in our neighborhood.”

“I am grateful to the Chicago Police Department for their quick and decisive action to limit any damage and keep people safe, and to the streets and sanitation department for their great work to clean our neighborhood. I look forward to meeting with city departments and stakeholders in the coming days to discuss how we can continue to improve the Parade for participants, attendees and neighbors (in order to) prevent these disturbing actions from occurring in the future,” Lawson said.

The Police Department bumped up staffing for this year’s Pride Parade, particularly to monitor after-hours celebrations.

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Shorter Chicago Pride Parade A ‘Tremendous Success,’ Organizers Say (2024)

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