This weekend marks the 40th annual Pride Parade, celebrating the contributions and culture of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Chicagoans. Several dance troupes, political organizations, and decorated floats travel through the main streets of Lakeview.
But the parade isn't the only celebration planned. Several events are being held this weekend, both entertaining and informative, that are open to people of all ages and all identities.
• If one party isn't enough for you, the 6th annual Backlot Bash behind Cheetah Gym (5238 N Clark St) takes place June 27-28 and will feature Too White Crew and Dot Dot Dot. The 21-and-older event costs $10 before 5:00 p.m., $15 after.
• Of course, the 40th annual Pride Parade on June 28 steps off at 12 noon from Halsted Street and Belmont Avenue. It proceeds north on Halsted, then turns south on Broadway to Diversey, where it turns east and concludes at Cannon Drive.
Over 450,000 spectators are expected to show up this year to see 250 community organizations, businesses, and elected government officials. Floats, decorated vehicles, drill teams, performance groups, bands, and marching units won't let the expected heat stop them from celebrating with flying colors.
This year's theme is "Stonewall: 40 Years After," and the Grand Marshal is actress, teacher, and activist Alexandra Billings. A Schaumburg native and former performer at the Baton Show Lounge, she is the first transwoman to have played a transgender character on television, appearing in episodes of ER and Grey's Anatomy.
For even more things to do this weekend, check the PRIDEChicago calendar of events.