BOYSTOWN — While the Supreme Court's ruling on Friday could lead to a huge turnout for Sunday's Pride Parade, organizers are reminding attendees to leave the booze at home.
Officials said they will have a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol along the parade route, with violators facing up to a $1,000 fine for open containers.
"We have been anticipating a large celebration all along, so [the Supreme Court's] ruling definitely adds another level to Pride, but the organizers, police and city departments are prepared for the large and celebratory crowds," said Bennett Lawson, chief of staff to Ald. Tom Tunney (44th).
Keeping Pride not only proud, but also orderly, has been key for city officials, who insist that without "serious improvements," the parade will leave Boystown.
With neighbors on edge and concerns circling about whether the parade has outgrown Boystown, a community advisory group pushed for stricter public safety plans and additional checkpoints along the parade route.
The group met several times, a move that was "more critical than ever, because the size of the parade has grown dramatically in the last few years," Ald. James Cappleman (46th) wrote in an email newsletter. With the Supreme Court's recognition of same-sex marriage across the country, "we can expect a record-breaking crowd" Sunday, he said.
Other measures like limiting political entrants and hiring additional off-duty officers have been arranged by Tunney, Cappleman, parade organizer Richard Pfeiffer and the Northalsted Business Alliance.
Alcohol can fuel law-breaking in large crowds and open containers provide additional clean-up woes, as seen during the Blackhawks Stanley Cup celebrations in Wrigleyville earlier this month.
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 took place 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.
Read more about the 2015 Pride Parade:
LGBT Pride on the Far North Side: 5 Ways to Celebrate Outside of Lakeview
Get more information on the parade route from Ald. James Cappleman
Ruling Cheered By Chicago LGBT Community, Mayor Emanuel
Taking the 'L' or a Bus for the Pride Parade? Here's a Guide to Get Around
Where's the Stanley Cup Now? Ready for Pride
Pride Parade Will Stay in Boystown ... For Now
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