Pride Fest Split: Parade and Festival Planned for Different Weekends
Organizers say they plan to hold Chicago’s Pride festival the weekend before the annual parade, gearing up for a potential ‘Pride Week.’
Organizers behind the annual Chicago Pridefest celebration on North Halsted Street say they plan to split up the festivities, holding the street festival the weekend before the famed Pride parade.
Sean Kotwa—the general manager of Hydrate, Halsted’s Bar + Grill and Elixir Lounge—attended Tuesday’s East Lake View Neighbors Association meeting joined by Northalsted Business Alliance Executive Director Jay Lyon and Ramesh Ariyanayakam, the owner of Kit Kat Lounge.
Together the three announced the plan to change Pridefest 2013’s schedule.
“The changes we’re proposing is to have the festival on (Saturday the) 22nd and (Sunday the) 23rd of June,” Kotwa said. “We’re giving up Friday to help alleviate (congestion), especially with everyone coming home from work on Friday.”
The festival is traditionally held on the last weekend in June, with the Pridefest parade planned for Sunday afternoon. June 22-23 is also the weekend the Chicago Cubs play the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field.
Lake View officials like Tom Elliott—the director of public relations at the Center on Halsted—and members of ELVN say they hear the move is to prepare Lake View for “Pride Week,” potentially connecting the two weekends in the future with more activities during the weekday. That’s combined with Independence Day celebrations on July 4 just days after.
“I think what they want to do is have the parade later so it’ll be a full week,” said Gus Isacson, Central Lakeview Merchants' executive director. “There’s a holiday after that, so it might be a week and a half.”
When asked about rumors of splitting the festival and parade to different weekends on Jan. 31, Northalsted Business Alliance Spokesperson Jen Gordon did not comment on specifics of the event.
“Pridefest details should be available sometime at then end of February,” Gordon said in an email. “I will keep you posted as soon as we have all the official details.”
Lyon told ELVN members Tuesday night that Northalsted Business Alliance plans to spend 30,000 this year on private security measures in Boystown, $5,000 more than Patch reported they spent in 2012. The money is used year-round, especially during summer, to help cut crime in the popular entertainment district, and it’s combined with Chicago Police’s new entertainment detail to curb crime in Lake View.
What’s more is the Northalsted Business Alliance says they plan to give the money donated when people enter the Pridefest street festival to the ELVN organization. Last year they gave roughly $7,500 to the Center on Halsted.