After last year's COVID-related cancellation, the LGBTQ+-focused outdoor affair Pride Fest returned to Lake View after a delay of a few months, as it usually takes place in June. An additional full day was added to the past two-day festival to make the celebration last for three days, Oct. 1-3, after the planned Chicago Pride parade was called off for that Sunday.
Much like the recent Homecoming festival was to Andersonville's Midsommarfest, Pride Fest is comparable to Market Days in terms of size and attendance. Pride Fest runs down Halsted Street from Addison to Grace streets, making it a more intimate gathering.
Spotty weather on the latter days didn't dampen the spirits of festivalgoers, as many continued to dance in the streets throughout the unpredictable environment. Singer Debbie Gibson was a good sport to continue her set through a brief downpour and played several new songs from her recent album, The Body Remembers.
The entertainment lineup brought strong vocals on center stage, courtesy of reality-show talent such as The Four's VINCINT and The Voice's Katie Kadan, who both showed their impressive ranges on the mic on the North Stage. Shangelaanother reality-show contestant, this time from RuPaul's Drag Racewas humorous on and off the stage while being completely professional the entire time. Other musicians who captivated the crowds included dance-music diva Kristine W and country singer Brooke Eden.
Gibson and Kadan were some of the newer headliners added in response to the Pride Fest extension. Oher artists included Nina Sky, Jamila Woods and Mila Jam. Local band Sixteen Candles dropped out due to COVID exposure, having organizers scramble by adjusting the lineup at the last minute.
A suggested $15 donation was requested at the entrances to benefit the Northalsted Business Alliance and Chicago SSA#18. It was suggested that attendees be vaccinated or wear a mask in the outdoor spaces, and most of the surrounding bars checked vaccine cards upon entry to indoor spaces.
Visit northhalsted.com for updates on upcoming events in the future.