pride fest

Chicago Pride Fest Draws Large Crowds Despite No Parade

Approximately 100,000 people were expected to attend the festival through Sunday - rain or shine.

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While Chicago's Pride Parade was canceled this year because of the pandemic, that didn't stop thousands from turning out for Pride Fest and celebrating LGBTQ+ life, culture and community.

Crowds packed North Halsted Street Saturday for the second day of the three-day festival. Typically, Chicago's Pride celebration consists of a full month of festivities and ends with the Pride Parade in June, according to the event's website.

However, the pandemic forced changes this year, and people were happy to celebrate regardless.

"So, it’s be nice to feel like a community again after like a year and a half of just like odd stuff," said festivalgoer Maris Robinson.

Approximately 100,000 people were expected to attend the festival through Sunday - rain or shine.

"They still made an effort, you know, we’re still going to have this celebration, it's just going to be a little bit different this year while still regarding everyone’s safety," said attendee Maureen Sanderson. "At the end of the day, I’m happy we’re still having some kind of celebration and being safe."

The event features a number of live performers including Vincint, Brooke Eden, Debbie Gibson, Katie Kadan, Mila Jam and more.

People also have the chance to purchase goods from a variety of vendors and delight in some tasty food.

"I think people are just as happy to be out and socializing as I am," said Jake Berrier, another attendee. "I think it's kind of refreshing to see some happier faces."

If all goes as planned, the Pride Parade will return next June.

Those who attend the festival were encouraged to be fully vaccinated or wear a mask. COVID tests and vaccines were both available.

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