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Women's March Moves To Avoid Damaging Grant Park With Huge Crowds

By Patty Wetli | January 16, 2017 12:20pm
 With 20,000+ expected to attend Saturday's rally, organizers have shifted away from Grant Park.
With 20,000+ expected to attend Saturday's rally, organizers have shifted away from Grant Park.
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DNAinfo/Kelly Bauer

DOWNTOWN — With more than 20,000 people expected to attend Saturday's Anti-Trump Women's March In Chicago, organizers have shifted the rally's location to avoid wear and tear on Grant Park.

The event, set to get underway at 10 a.m., will now kick off on Jackson Boulevard at Lake Shore Drive, instead of the Petrillo Bandshell.

"The combination of unseasonably warm temperatures, rain earlier in the week, and anticipated large numbers of marchers threatened to turn the Petrillo’s grassy field into a mud pit," organizers said.

The rally's main stage has been moved to Jackson to protect the park from damage, according to an update from organizers.

Pre-rally musical entertainment will start at 9:30 a.m., but marchers are welcome to begin gathering as early as 8:30 a.m.

Speakers and performers will take to the stage 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: The lineup includes members of the Chicago cast of "Hamilton," author Sara Paretsky, Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley of the Hadiya Pendleton Foundation, and representatives from Planned Parenthood, Youth for Black Lives and Mothers Against Senseless Killings.

Marchers will then head west on Jackson to Michigan Avenue and wind their way around the Loop. The march is expected to finish on Jackson Boulevard near Federal Plaza with a final rallying cry.

Jackson Boulevard will remain closed between Lake Shore Drive and Columbus until 2 p.m., where marchers can continue to congregate informally, organizers said.

The Chicago march is being held in tandem with a national rally in the capital, timed with Donald Trump's first day in office following Friday's inauguration.

"We're planning and hoping for the largest women's rally and march outside of Washington, D.C.," Ann Scholhamer, one of the march's organizers, said in a statement.

More than 120 organizations are planning to send marchers to the Chicago event.

The march, both nationally and locally, was spurred by Trump's derogatory treatment of women during his campaign, as well as concerns about the potential erosion of women's rights under his administration.