Plenty of rainbows, smiles at first Naper Pride Fest

  • Max Chizzo, 13, of Batavia, facing, shares a moment with friends as they explore the grounds at Naper Settlement during the inaugural Naper Pride Fest Sunday in Naperville.

    Max Chizzo, 13, of Batavia, facing, shares a moment with friends as they explore the grounds at Naper Settlement during the inaugural Naper Pride Fest Sunday in Naperville. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Tony and Amanda Kudrys of Naperville dance with their kids Fiona, 2, and Adora, 9 months, during the inaugural Naper Pride Fest Sunday at the Naper Settlement in Naperville.

    Tony and Amanda Kudrys of Naperville dance with their kids Fiona, 2, and Adora, 9 months, during the inaugural Naper Pride Fest Sunday at the Naper Settlement in Naperville. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • The first Naper Pride Fest took place this weekend at the Naper Settlement in Naperville.

    The first Naper Pride Fest took place this weekend at the Naper Settlement in Naperville. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/12/2021 5:43 PM

Wearing pride flags likes capes, 13-year-old Max Chizzo of Batavia and a group of four friends created a rainbow-colored wall as they walked shoulder to shoulder along the path Sunday at the Naper Pride Fest in Naperville.

Popping in and out of vendor tents, they stopped from time to time to pass out small pride flags to people they met along the way.

 

"This is really awesome," Chizzo said of the event. "I feel great, this place is really amazing, I love it to death and I wish I could be here forever."

The first Naper Pride Fest took place this weekend at Naper Settlement. Anne Dempsey, one of the co-founders of Naper Pride, said the event was working out better than they had hoped when they first conceived of it a couple of years ago.

"When this all started we kind of just wanted a picnic, we didn't know what we were doing," Dempsey said of the event, which drew over 1,000 people on Saturday and continued Sunday.

Dempsey has been overwhelmed by the "emotion" of the event.

"Yesterday I met a kid, must have been junior high, with a flag around her neck and she told me 'I feel so free here, I can be me,'" Dempsey said.

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The fest featured live music, food and drink stands, and vendors selling a colorful array of wares.

Festivalgoer Tony Kudrys of Naperville, who was there with his wife and three kids, was happy to have the event in his neighborhood.

"It shows there's a change in the community and that Naperville is becoming more and more inclusive," he said. "I love it."

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