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‘The show must go on’: Stormy weather couldn’t dampen Pride in the Park celebration

Not even a late-morning torrential downpour and a tornado warning could rain on the parade of thousands of festivalgoers who flooded Grant Park Saturday for Pride in the Park.

Alyssa Edwards performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Alyssa Edwards performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

A late-morning torrential downpour and a tornado warning couldn’t rain on the parade of thousands of festivalgoers who flooded Grant Park Saturday for Pride in the Park.

The storm delayed the kickoff to the two-day music festival by two hours. Still, throngs of people decked out in rainbow attire and ponchos, poured into the downtown park to celebrate as Pride month nears its end.

Performers included drag queen Alyssa Edwards and Chicago’s own Miss Toto. Chaka Khan was scheduled to perform Sunday.

“Rain was not going to keep me away,” said Mark King, 42, who wore a multi-colored speedo and sequined jacket. “I thought there was a very good chance it was going to get canceled, but the shows gotta go on, we’ve got to celebrate as a city.”

With rain continuing steadily into the evening, some huddled together under umbrellas in an attempt to stay dry, while others embraced the weather and danced on the muddy swamp-like grounds. Most were mask-less, bringing flashbacks of pre-pandemic times.

“It’s just exciting,” Kim Belizaire said. “It’s good to see people getting out and trying to live life again. It is a sense of normalcy again, I haven’t done something like this in so long.”

Belizaire, 20, said she took a train from Skokie with friends and was drawn to the celebration for its “good vibes.”

Belizaire’s friend, 19-year-old Evan Numan, who recently came out as gay, emphasized the importance of embracing inclusivity and diversity at the event.

“All these people are coming to celebrate the same thing, so it’s really just meaningful and honestly [an] overwhelmingly good experience to see all these people that are either part of my community or support me,” Numan said. “It’s just a beautiful feeling knowing that you’re accepted, you’re loved by [others] and you mean something.”

Zoe Meier, 19, of Mount Prospect, dances with her girlfriend, 20-year-old Stella Gross Shafer, in the rain Saturday afternoon during Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Zoe Meier, 19, of Mount Prospect, dances with her girlfriend, 20-year-old Stella Gross Shafer, in the rain Saturday afternoon during Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Tiesto performs Saturday night at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Tiesto performs Saturday night at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Festival-goers dance to Betty Who’s performance Saturday night at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Festival goers dance to Betty Who’s performance Saturday night at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Tiesto performs Saturday night at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Tiesto performs Saturday night at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Tiesto performs Saturday night at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Tiesto performs Saturday night at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Betty Who performs Saturday night at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Betty Who performs Saturday night at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Festival-goers dance to Betty Who’s performance Saturday night at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Festival-goers dance to Betty Who’s performance Saturday night at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Betty Who performs Saturday night at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Betty Who performs Saturday night at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Chicago drag queen Denali Foxx performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Chicago drag queen Denali Foxx performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Festival-goers dance in the rain Saturday afternoon during Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Festival-goers dance in the rain Saturday afternoon during Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Chicago drag queen Denali Foxx performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Chicago drag queen Denali Foxx performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Chicago drag queen Denali Foxx performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Chicago drag queen Denali Foxx performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Festival-goers dance in the rain Saturday afternoon during Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Festival-goers dance in the rain Saturday afternoon during Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Alyssa Edwards performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Alyssa Edwards performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Festival-goers dance in the rain Saturday afternoon during Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Festival-goers dance in the rain Saturday afternoon during Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Alyssa Edwards performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Alyssa Edwards performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Chicago drag queen Miss Toto performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Chicago drag queen Miss Toto performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Chicago drag queen Naysha Lopez performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Chicago drag queen Naysha Lopez performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Chicago drag queen JoMama performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Chicago drag queen JoMama performs Saturday afternoon at Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Festival-goers dance in the rain Saturday afternoon during Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Festival-goers dance in the rain Saturday afternoon during Pride in the Park in Grant Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Thousands flock to Grant Park Saturday afternoon for Pride in the Park.
Thousands flock to Grant Park Saturday afternoon for Pride in the Park.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times