The 43rd annual Chicago Pride Parade stepped off from the corner of Montrose and Broadway without incident just after noon Sunday.
“Everything is looking great and running smoothly,” said parade Organizer Richard Pfeiffer. “It’s going to be a great day.”
Last year, vandals attempted to stop the parade by slashing the tires on 51 floats hours before the parade was set to begin. All but three floats managed to make it into the parade.
Pfeiffer said there were no instances of vandalism this year and that the floats were safe at an undisclosed location near 79th Street on the city’s South Side.
Nearly 800,000 people attended the parade in 2011, and officials are anticipating a similar turnout, but this time with a new route and slightly-altered crowd control strategy. The parade has been expanded by five blocks to accomodate the crowds. The parade is expected to last about two and a half hours.
Parade Grand Marshal Evan Wolfson said parade attendees have a lot to celebrate this year.
“Illinois has a lot to be proud of with the civil unions bill and the momentum that we are seeing,” Wolfson said. “Now it’s time to finish the job and bring the freedom to marry to Illinois.”
Pfeiffer predicts the parade will continue without issues along the new route… That is, if the weather holds up.
Severe weather is possible throughout the day, with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms, according to WGN’s Tom Skilling.
The parade will go on rain or shine, Pfeiffer said, but noted that if high winds move in, city emergency officials will have to call off the remainder of the procession.
Stay tuned to Chicago Phoenix for continued coverage.