The picture above was taken at the Chicago Pride parade a few years ago. It’s an annual event in the Chicago neighborhood known as either “Lakeview” or “Boystown,” depending on who you talk to. I lived in this neighborhood for several years, and the parade was always a fun time. I haven’t been to it in years, and I understand that it’s gotten bigger and rowdier every year. So the City has decided to make some changes.
Time will tell if these changes will successful in addressing the issues of crowds and drunkenness, but experience with another Chicago parade is instructive on some level. Years ago, the St. Patrick’s day parade was held on March 17 (even if it was during the workweek) and went down Dearborn street in the Loop. Think of Ferris Bueller on the float, or Harrison Ford on the run in The Fugitive. Urban setting, skyscrapers all around, it was great. Exactly what you want in a parade, or at least it was for me.
But the City’s politicians felt otherwise. They moved the date to the weekend before March 17, and moved the parade route to the open-air environs of Columbus Drive. It’s still well attended every year, but anyone who remembers it from before will tell you it’s not the same as it once was.
Everything changes–parade routes included–and that’s neither good nor bad. And the Pride parade next summer will have a similar feeling to it. And wherever it is, I’m sure it will still be a party and a half.