Cubs celebrate Pride night with special market outside Wrigley Field: ‘I feel good being in this place right now’

Sixteen LGBTQ+-owned and friendly businesses selling baked goods, clothing, candles, scents and jewelry set up booths in Gallagher Way before the Pirates game.

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Two Chicago Cubs fans try on their new Cubs Pride jerseys on Gallagher Way outside Wrigley Field. The limited-edition jerseys are sold out.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Rain or shine, there was plenty of pride at Wrigley Field on Tuesday evening.

The Chicago Cubs partnered with the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois to arrange a vibrant “Pride Market” just outside the ballpark at Gallagher Way. It was part of the team’s annual Pride night celebration ahead of the Cubs home game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The game was delayed for more than an hour because of the weather.

Sixteen LGBTQ+-owned and friendly businesses selling baked goods, clothing, candles, scents and jewelry set up booths on the lawn of the fan area. Hundreds of visitors streamed into the market, many wearing Cubs-themed ponchos or carrying umbrellas to stay dry as rain fell steadily throughout the evening.

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Rain, cold and wind didn’t keep fans away from the Pride Market outside Wrigley Field Tuesday. Sixteen LGBTQ+-owned and friendly businesses set up shop along Gallagher Way.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Alba Mendez, owner of Whimsical Wallflowers, which sells pink-themed merchandise, said she was thankful for those who came out to the market despite the threat of getting drenched. She also thanked the Cubs for organizing the event.

“I think it’s amazing, I think it’s really fun that they’re being inclusive,” Mendez said. “I think it’s something that should happen more often. I thought it was going to be pretty dead and nobody was going to come, but everybody is coming out. ”

Jacob Dunskis manned the booth for Men’s Room Chicago, a business in Boystown that specializes in men’s fashion and also has a barbershop. But Dunskis said the store has been expanding its merchandise to be more inclusive.

“We want to help everyone to show their pride and be who they want to be and to express who they want to be,” Dunskis said, adding that the Pride Market lets him see how other local businesses are expressing themselves through their products.

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Alba Mendez in her pink-themed pop-up shop on Gallagher Way. “I think it’s amazing, I think it’s really fun that they’re being inclusive,” Mendez said.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

“I just love getting to meet local business people and see what people are able to create and bring, especially the people who hand do their own work, how proud they are to be able to create something that they’re able to share with everyone,” Dunskis said, adding that he appreciates the Cubs putting together the big celebration.

“Especially right now, when there’s a lot of concerning things happening in other states, in other parts of the country, for a major part of our city to say we are here and we are standing with the LGBTQ community, for someone like myself it’s very important to me, and it means a lot to me,” Dunskis said.

The market also featured face-painting and performances by the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, which performed renditions of several pieces, including “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Salve Regina.”

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The Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus performs outside Wrigley Field.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Many fans sported a special-edition pride-themed Cubs jersey that features multicolored pinstripes based on the Progress Pride Flag, which celebrates the diversity of the LGBTQ community and calls for a more inclusive society. The jersey was released this month and quickly sold out.

Mark Renard said he felt really comfortable in the space as a fan and member of the LGBTQ+ community.

“It feels really good to be here right now, not dressed in traditional baseball gear but more myself,” Renard said. “It’s nice seeing the families, there’s a lot of people who are happy right now, despite it being wet and cold. I feel good being in this place right now.”

Renard is more of a White Sox fan — wearing his special-edition Cubs jersey with a Sox baseball cap — but visited Wrigley to support the Cubs on the special day.

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Jacob Dunskis with Men’s Room Chicago, a Boystown store selling an assortment of men’s fashion and offering a barbershop.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

“I’m happy to be here for Pride today, and you can see me again at Pride night next week at the Sox,” Renard said.

Zak Mikolajczak, who came to the game with Renard, said it would have been impossible to see an event like the Pride market when they were growing up.

“As someone who was raised to say when I bleed I bleed Cubbie blue by a family who hated gays and anything to do with it, it makes me tear up seeing little kids come here with the rainbow flag and all that,” Mikolajczak said. “This would never happen when I was a kid. It’s beautiful to see, and it’s like my childhood just changed today because I get to see the young families that I know I never could have had as a kid.”

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White Sox fan Mark Renard wears the limited-edition Cubs Pride jersey with his White Sox cap. Renard plans to be at White Sox Pride night next week.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

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Two Chicago Cubs fans, one wearing a trans Pride flag (left) and another with a bisexual Pride flag, walk into Wrigley Field. Tuesday’s game against the Pirates was delayed by rain.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

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