Pride in the Park returned to Grant Park's Butler Field bigger than ever on June 26-27.
Unfortunately, a storm delayed a start while ticketholders anxiously waited outside the gates in the rain at 377 E. Monroe St. Many were completely unaware that music festivals, including Pride in the Park, do not allow umbrellas inside because of the possibility of blocking views of the stage and obscuring sight lines.
After the venue opened, patrons were instructed to show the Clear app on their telephones, while walking in, as proof of previous vaccination and were not required to wear a mask. There were healthcare workers ready to administer the vaccine on site at a tent if requested. There were bag checks and gender-divided security guards searched the crowd as they entered.
Once inside, there were opportunities to purchase food and drink thanks to Connie's Pizza and Truly Hard Seltzer, who was a major sponsor. Other liquor companies added to the party atmosphere as well. The Samuel Adams brewery had a fun pop-up area to explore where people could take home swag; several vendors awarded game prizes, and the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana even gave out Fender electric guitars to a few lucky winners.
A second stage, also part of the Hard Rock's support, was added this year. The CircuitMom Grooveland stage featured DJs (such as Circuit Mom, Lady D and Tony Moran) and drag queens performed both days.
Entertainment on the main GoPuff Pride Stage included RuPaul Drag Race alumni Alyssa Edwards and Naysha Lopez; singers Betty Who and Chaka Khan; and world renowned DJs Tracy Young, Gryffin and Tiesto. .
Sunday featured much better weather than the previous day, with a sporadic shining sun at times and a sea of rainbows amongst the dancing crowd.
While the Pride Parade is postponed until Oct. 3, this outdoor Pride party gave the LGBTQIA+ community a satisfactory way to end June. Judging from the attendance in 2021, the celebration could be even bigger next year.
For more on future activities from this organization, visit PrideintheParkChicago.com .