Gray skies and light rain could not dampen the spirits of the approximately 400,000 individuals who turned out for Chicago's 37th Annual Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade, held June 25.
The parade kicked off on time, with the lead car occupied by out actor George Takei, the grand marshal. He was followed by dozens of politicians, including Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Republican Judy Baar Topinka, who are both contending in the gubernatorial race that will be decided in November. Other officials in the parade included U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois Lieutenant Pat Quinn, State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, Ald. Tom Tunney, Ald. Helen Shiller, and many more.
According to the Chicago Police's news affairs division, no arrests were made this year. The statistic stands in stark contrast to the 2005 parade, when there were 16 arrests.
There were 250 registered entries for the event, which had the theme 'Pride ... Not Prejudice.' PRIDEChicago presented awards in three categories for:
Best All Around Float: Chicago Games, Inc. ( Gay Games VII ) won for its presentation and display of energy and exuberance, according to a PRIDEChicago press release.
Best Business Float: Shawn Daly won for his elaborate same-sex marriage theme entry.
Best Organization Floats: There was a tie between Columbia College ( for its costumed participants and visual presentation ) and Lake View East Chamber of Commerce ( for its colorful float depicting their Fall arts fest ) .
Honorable mention went to Windy City Rodeo & Charlie's Chicago.
Richard Pfeiffer, the PRIDEChicago coordinator, told Windy City Times that he was quite pleased with the throngs of people who attended the event. 'Attendance was down [ from last year ] , but we're really happy with the turnout,' he said. He also said that the parade took two hours and 42 minutes, about five minutes longer than last year.
Parade day was topped off with ABC-7 Chicago's one-hour show at 11:35 p.m. that showed taped highlights from this year's parade. This was the third consecutive year that ABC-7 aired a taped version of the parade.
See photos throughout this issue and online at www.windycitymediagroup.com . Also see pics in Nightspots.