Arts & Entertainment

Celebrate Pride in Chicago With These Events

Courtesy of Payal Patel, Navy PierJune is Pride month, and there are plenty of ways for Chicagoans to celebrate their identity.

Pride Month has arrived — the month every year where members of the LGBTQ+ community can celebrate their identity in wake of centuries of oppression and mistreatment.

After last year’s Pride events were dampened by a roaring coronavirus pandemic, a steep drop in cases thanks to widespread vaccination has allowed for the community to come roaring back in celebration.

As events surrounding the month kick back into high-gear — and discourse over whether kink has a place at Pride sparks — check out this rundown of some of Chicago’s Pride events.

Pride HIIT Workout Fundraiser (June 6)

Want to get in shape while raising money for Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community? Fitness trainer Austin Head is hosting a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout in the parking lot at Replay Lakeview on North Halsted. 

Brunch will be provided by Crispy Chicks restaurant, and attendees can also purchase Bud Lights for $3 and bottles of champagne for $10.

The organizers encourage people of “all fitness levels” to participate in the event, which costs $35. Money raised by the event will benefit Chicago House, a foundation originated in 1985 dedicated to empowering people “living with or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS to lead healthy and dignified lives through housing and compassionate, client-centered support services.”

Macy’s Drag Brunch (June 12)

There’s few things millennials and Gen Z love more than a good brunch. Chicago’s world-famous The Walnut Room is offering an enhanced brunch experience featuring a lineup of drag artists, such as Lucy Stoole and former “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestant Kyle Sonique Love, hosted by Macy’s State Street (111 N. State St). 

The 11 a.m time slot is sold out, but tickets remain for the 2 p.m. event. For those who can’t make it to the June 12 event — or simply want to attend more drag brunches — a “Totally ‘90s” drag brunch will be hosted July 24.

Pride Bowl Chicago (June 25-26)

If you’re looking for a Pride event outside a traditional parade, Pride Bowl Chicago’s annual flag football event at Montrose and Margate fields (4400 N. Lake Shore Drive) may be for you. The event will host two leagues, an open division and an all-women’s division. 

This will be the 13th edition of the Pride Bowl. As of May 22, 35 teams were signed up, hailing from cities across the country, including Atlanta, Brooklyn and Denver.

If you’re looking for a cheap way to toss around a football, though, be warned of the steep price of admission. At $98.80 per player — up to $109.20 if players enroll late — the event is not your typical flag football event. The deadline to apply for regular admission is June 9, though applications are still open until June 23 with an added fee.

Courtesy of Payal Patel, Navy Pier Pride celebrations at Navy Pier will take place June 26.

Navy Pier Pride (June 26)

Navy Pier is back up and running after a COVID-induced hiatus. In honor of Pride month, Navy Pier is dedicating Saturday, June 26 to celebrations. From 1 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., patrons can enjoy a day full of “storytelling, music, dance and activities,” according to the Pier’s website

Sponsored by ComEd and Orsted — in light of every business and their cat tossing their hat into pride month —  the free event will host live music in the Pier’s Beer Garden, featuring the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus and Radio Gaga.

Photo by Rhonda Holcomb, Courtesy of Sabrina Cynova, Lincoln Park Zoo Lincoln Park Zoo’s Adults Nights Out is promoted as a night of “no kids. No crowds. Just strolling and sipping and getting some much-needed outside time.”

Lincoln Park Zoo’s Adults Night Out (June 26)

Wanting to ditch the kids for an adults-only night at the Lincoln Park Zoo? The zoo has entered the ring with a night of events geared toward celebrating LGBTQ+ Chicagoans.

From drag bingo with local drag performer Veronica Pop to local LGBTQ+ business pop-ups, the event is jam packed with nightly festivities. If guests register by 12 p.m. on June 10, they will receive free access to the Animals Have PRIDE, Too virtual chat, a conversation with senior population biologist John Andrews discussing the LGBTQ+ community of the animal kingdom.

The event will run from 6:30 to 10 p.m. and tickets cost $20. Members of the Lincoln Park Zoo can apply a discount by entering the first three digits of their membership ID card in the “Enter Promotional Code” field when purchasing tickets.

Pride in the Park (June 26-27)

With lightened COVID restrictions comes a return to live concerts. Chicago’s Pride in the Park event debuted in 2019 — before being canceled due to COVID in 2020. The event will feature Betty Who, Tiesto and Chaka Khan, among a lineup of more than 20 performers.

The event will comply with the Restore Illinois Plan’s health and safety guidelines, as well as implementing testing regulations. Attendees don’t need to be vaccinated, but organizers recommend they get tested on Thursday or Friday prior to the weekend event. A health pass organizational code will be available and attendees must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within three days of the event, according to the event’s official website.

Tickets range from $45 for a single-day general admission pass to $225 for a full weekend VIP pass. Children under the age of 10 will be admitted for free, while children up to the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult. People aged 15 and up need a form of valid ID. VIP tickets are available only for patrons 21 and up.

Chicago Pride Fest (Oct. 1-3)

Chicago Pride Fest is an annual three-day street festival celebrating its 20th year in 2021. Typically, the event is held the last weekend of June, but safety restrictions led organizers to postpone until October. The fest takes place in the Northalsted neighborhood, formerly known as Boystown.

More details should arrive at a later date.

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