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.”