Photos by Kat Fitzgerald ( More at www.mysticimagesphotography.com ) and at www.windycitymediagroup.com/photos/MorePride2009
Perfect weather provided the backdrop for Chicago's 40th Annual Pride Parade, held June 28 in the Boystown area of Lake View.
Trans actress Alexandra Billings was the event's grand marshal. There were 250 registered parade-float entries and and an estimated 450,000 people attended, according to a press release from PRIDEChicago, which organizes the parade.
History was an important theme this year, as the parade coincided with with the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which many cite as the start of the gay rights movement. Floats and contingents also represented current issues such as marriage equality and Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
One of the parade highlights involved students from Lake View's Nettelhorst Elementary School taking part—the first time a public school has done so. The school's float took the Special Judges Award, according to PRIDEChicago.
Robert Jeffrey Hair & Skin Studio won the award for Best All-Around Float for its unique portrayal of comic-book superheroes with an LGBT twist.
There were changes related to crowd control. Effective this year, barricades lined both sides of the street the entire route to keep the crowds at bay. Spectators, including those who arrived late, were required to stand behind the barricades, not in the street.
According to the Chicago Police Department, there were three arrests, all for disorderly conduct.
Photos by Kat Fitzgerald ( MysticImagesPhotography.com ) . Photo spread continues on page 20. More photos available online at www.windycitymediagroup.com and in next week's issue of Nightspots.