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Pride Parade Will Stay in Boystown ... For Now

By Ariel Cheung | April 21, 2015 1:42pm | Updated on April 22, 2015 8:42am
 More than 1 million people turned up the 44th annual Pride Parade in 2013.
More than 1 million people turned up the 44th annual Pride Parade in 2013.
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DNAinfo/Justin Barbin

BOYSTOWN — It appears the Pride Parade will stay in Boystown for 2015, but there's still a chance for a move to Downtown later.

A source confirmed to DNAinfo Chicago that the June 28 parade will remain in Boystown after the Crime in Wrigleyville + Boystown blog first reported the news.

Multiple attempts to reach Ald. Tom Tunney's office and parade organizer Richard Pfeiffer were unsuccessful.

However, the 44th Ward alderman has suggested a move eventually will be necessary as the parade grows, said Erin Duffy, the ward's director of community outreach.

"[Tunney is] very open to moving it Downtown. Honestly, he feels if it's not this year, it could be next year. We're at that point with capacity and EMS vehicles in a residential neighborhood," Duffy told South East Lake View Neighbors at an April 13 meeting.

Tunney has been meeting for weeks with the Mayor's Office, 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman and parade organizers to discuss the parade's future. The decision was put on hold for the April 7 runoff election, in which both Cappleman and Mayor Rahm Emanuel defeated challengers.

Tunney said he knows that many Lakeview residents want the parade to stay in Boystown, especially as many attendees would still migrate to the world's best gay neighborhood after the parade, no matter where it takes place.

"We don't want it to move Downtown and lose a lot of the designated police presence," Duffy said.

Tunney has supported moving the parade in the past, as well, saying it was a "logical" step. During the 2014 parade, two people tackled a police officer and damaged a squad car, and 45 other people were arrested on parade day.

Tunney's office received dozens of complaints, although the alderman said there were more than 500 police officers on hand for the parade, in addition to horseback units for crowd control.

The parade — which began in 1970 to protest police harassment of LGBT folk — has steadily grown, doubling in size over the last decade. 

More than a million people attended the parade in 2013 and 2014, with 850,000 estimated attendees in 2012 and 450,000 in 2005.

The parade route was extended into Uptown in 2012 to alleviate congestion, and further growth led to a 2013 split between the parade and Pride Fest. The 2015 street festival is set for a week before the parade, June 20-21.

Last fall, Tunney's office surveyed neighbors about whether the parade should move, and 55 percent supported the parade remaining in Boystown.


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