‘Push positivity’: Elgin’s second Pride Parade and Festival kicks off Pride Month in suburbs

After a successful inaugural event, bigger is the operative word for the second year of the Elgin Pride Parade and Festival on Saturday.

Presented by ELGbtq+, the event that drew between 4,000 and 5,000 people last year will feature twice as many parade entries and twice as many vendors. It also will use all of Festival Park for the post-parade fest as opposed to half last year.

Travis Hooker, vice president of the ELGbtq+ board of directors, said that while they’re hoping for an even bigger crowd, that’s not the ultimate objective.

“Our goal is to push positivity out there,” Hooker said. “The point is to open up communication lines and destigmatize the gay community, to show that you’re not going to ‘catch’ gay, that you can have a family-friendly festival that supports the queer community and gender-nonconforming people, and we’re a part of society just like any other minority group.”

Fifty-two entrants are registered for the parade, which steps off at 11 a.m. and starts and ends near Festival Park, heading north on Riverside Drive and returning south on Grove Avenue.

The post-parade festival, which runs from noon to 5 p.m., will have 64 vendors and 13 food trucks. Entertainment will include musicians, belly dancers and poetry from Elgin’s poet laureate.

Community groups will have resource booths and myriad activities, including a children’s area and a space for people with autism and sensory sensitivity.

Hooker, a retired Elgin police officer who owns a consulting firm that specializes in training law enforcement and government agencies on how to better interact with diverse and marginalized communities, including LGBTQ+, said last year’s event helped confirm that Elgin is an accepting community.

“Elgin’s an affirming place, and people can live their true selves here and maybe be a little less worried about being victimized based on their gender identity or sexual orientation,” he said. “I think it (the event) helps bring the community together.”

Buffalo Grove’s Pride Parade is scheduled for Sunday, June 2. Daily Herald file photo 2019

Elgin’s event is the first among many suburban celebrations of Pride Month. Other events scheduled in June include:

Buffalo Grove Pride Parade & Picnic: 11 a.m. Sunday, June 2, at Mike Rylko Community Park, 1000 N. Buffalo Grove Road, Buffalo Grove. BG Pride and The Pinta Pride Project present Buffalo Grove's sixth annual family-friendly Pride Parade. More than 100 local groups take part, including businesses, school groups, and religious organizations. Following the parade, attendees are invited to the Buffalo Grove Pride Picnic for food trucks, drinks, face painting, lawn games and DJ entertainment.

Lake County PrideFest: 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at the Round Lake Beach Cultural & Civic Center, 2007 N. Civic Center Way, Round Lake Beach. Family-friendly outdoor festival features music and performances, food trucks, a beer and beverage tent, artisan vendors, a resource fair, kids’ entertainment, multiple drag shows, dancing and more. $5 suggested donation.

Spectators crowd the sidewalks in 2022 during the Aurora Pride Parade. This year’s event will take place Sunday, June 9. Patrick Kunzer for the Daily Herald, 2022

Aurora Pride Parade: Noon Sunday, June 9, in downtown Aurora. The main stage is near 1 E. Benton. The after-party will be from 1 to 5 p.m. at Two Brothers Roundhouse, 205 N. Broadway, Aurora. Presale tickets are $10; proceeds will go to funding next year's parade.

Carol Stream Pride Concert: 7 to 9 p.m. June 20 at Ross Ferraro Town Center, 960 N. Gary Ave., Carol Stream. Beyond the Blonde will perform. Food and drinks for purchase. Free.

North­west Pride Fest: 2 to 7 p.m. June 29 at Trick­ster Cul­tur­al Cen­ter, 190 S. Roselle Road, Schaum­burg. Live enter­tain­ment, activ­i­ties, local com­mu­ni­ty resources and more. Hosted by Ken­neth Young LGBTQ+ Cen­ter & Trick­ster Cul­tur­al Cen­ter.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.