City: Pride Parade organizers haven’t filed for 2021 permits

With time ticking away, there are growing indications that the annual Chicago Pride Parade won’t be held on its traditional date, the last Sunday in June, this year.

In fact, city officials confirmed Thursday that parade organizers haven’t even applied for a permit to hold a parade this year.

That’s a pretty significant clue. Parade organizers have regularly applied for event permits in early December for the following year.

The city is not issuing any permits for major events through the end of March due to COVID. And there are questions about what the summer will bring. But it takes months of work to pull off an event the size of Chicago’s Pride march, so it’s only natural to wonder when (or if) the city will have a parade this year.

Richard Pfeiffer, who organized Chicago’s Pride Parade for 45 years, died in October 2019, leaving the annual event in the hands of his husband, Tim Frye.

Pfeiffer’s parade applications were filed with military precision every year — on the first business day of December between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m. — city records show. Frye filed for last year’s parade permit on December 3, 2019, but the event was canceled due to COVID.

The city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events said Thursday that no application has been filed for a 2021 parade.

The Northalsted Business Alliance, which organizes Boystown’s annual Pride Fest and Market Days street festivals, “is planning for a wide range of potential scenarios in 2021 including options with limited festival operations due to the pandemic,” according to notes from a recent meeting.

But just because there aren’t official city-permitted events doesn’t mean people won’t be partying in the streets of Boystown on Pride weekend. Large groups of revelers overtook Halsted Street on the Sunday when last year’s parade would have been held. And they stayed in the streets — sometimes dancing on CPD squad cars — until 4 o’clock the next morning.

Pride parade organizers did not respond to an email seeking information about their 2021 plans.

Please support CWBChicago’s reporting efforts with a contribution or subscription. Members-only perks await!