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Chicago Pride Parade canceled for second straight year due to COVID-19

Organizers say the parade will be back in June 2022. ‘Count on it,’ parade coordinator Tim Frye says.

The Chicago Pride Parade takes place in 2019. The 2021 parade has been canceled.
The Chicago Pride Parade takes place in 2019. The 2021 parade has been canceled.
Rick Majewski / Sun-Times file

COVID-19 has claimed Chicago’s Pride Parade yet again.

Organizers on Wednesday announced the Boystown celebration has been canceled for a second straight year as the city weathers its latest coronavirus surge.

The parade, which regularly drew upwards of 100,000 people along its colorful North Side route in pre-pandemic years, had initially been pushed back from its usual last weekend of June to Oct. 3 in the hopes of getting more attendees vaccinated for a safer gathering.

But with the Delta variant raking the nation, “We were very naive in that belief,” parade coordinator Tim Frye said.

“We really wanted and hoped that there could be a parade in 2021,” Frye said. “We don’t feel, though, that we can do it safely for everyone in the parade and the people watching.”

Organizers canceled the 2020 parade altogether in favor of a virtual event. Illinois’ average daily coronavirus caseloads are more than five times higher compared to back then. An average of more than 450 Chicagoans are testing positive each day.

The PNC Bank float in the 2019 Chicago Pride Parade.
The PNC Bank float in the 2019 Chicago Pride Parade.
Rick Majewski/Archivo Sun-Times

An indoor mask mandate is in effect across Chicago and the rest of the state, but street fests and other large events have remained open for business under Mayor Lori Lightfoot since mid-June.

More than 385,000 people converged on Grant Park last month for Lollapalooza. Market Days, another outdoor festival celebrating LGBTQ+ communities, took place in Lake View Aug. 6-8.

Frye said next year’s Pride Parade will be held June 26, 2022.

“We’re going to believe that, in June 2022, we are living in a far safer world than now,” he said. “We intend to have the best, most joyous, fabulous, memorable Pride Parade ever. Count on it.”