Buffalo Grove Pride Parade organizers foresee rainbows without rain this weekend
Organizers of the inaugural Buffalo Grove Pride Parade are hoping to avoid rain Sunday but still see plenty of rainbows.
As many as 5,000 spectators are expected to line the route to watch more than 80 entries march in the parade, scheduled to step off at 10 a.m. from Carry Lane and Checker Drive.
When it does, it will be the culmination of a nearly yearlong effort launched by then 12-year-old Molly Pinta and her mom, Carolyn.
The Buffalo Grove residents began with an online fundraising campaign in July and created a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in September. Momentum has been building since, through fundraising events, sponsorships and a steady stream of media coverage.
"Getting people involved in the project, because it was the first year, was so hard to do," Carolyn Pinta said. "I was really, literally making it up as I went along."
The effort has put Molly in the spotlight, including her recent selection as youth grand marshal for Chicago's 50th annual Pride Parade scheduled June 30. The Twin Groves Middle School student said she's happy with the response to the parade.
"People have come out of the woodwork that we never even thought we would hear from," she said, noting that the parade has backers from across the country. "We get support from so many people from all over."
Carolyn Pinta said the event has attracted more than 50 sponsors, including presenting sponsors Xfinity, SIEMENS, SIEMENS Healthineers, Veterinary Specialty Center and BMO Harris Bank. Sponsors also include state Reps. Jonathan Carroll and Daniel Didech, whose districts include Buffalo Grove.
Carolyn Pinta said many were interested in taking part in the parade as a response to today's political climate.
"People feel that getting involved is a way to fight some of the hate that the current administration is putting out," she said. "It makes them feel that they can do something very positive and meaningful."
Among the groups marching will be the Girl Scouts and Lakeside Pride, a LGBTQ marching band from Chicago. Floats from local establishments such as Prairie House Tavern also will join the parade.
"I'm just hoping that it will feel like a blur of a crowd passing by, a blur of excited, happy people," Molly Pinta said. "I'm hoping to see some couples. I would love that."
After starting at Carry Lane and Checker Drive, the parade will march north on Checker to Ridgefield Lane, before dispersing onto Ridgefield and Shady Grove Lane. Staging areas will begin at Carry and move south to Checker and Old Checker.
Checker Drive will be closed from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. to through traffic. Residents should park on Silver Rock, Twisted Oak Essington and Dunham lanes, officials say. Police will not enforce overnight parking restrictions in the area of the parade on the evening of June 1.
There will be an increased police presence throughout the day, including safety barriers running down both sides of the parade route.
After the parade, the Buffalo Grove Park District will continue the celebration with a festival titled "Uniquely Us" at Mike Rylko Community Park, 1000 N. Buffalo Grove Road, from noon to 4 p.m. The free event will include live music and entertainment, food and beverages for purchase, and a business expo.
Carolyn Pinta also credits support from Buffalo Grove officials, particularly Deputy Village Manager Jennifer Maltas, Deputy Police Chief Scott Eisenmenger and police Lt. Michael Rodriguez.
Maltas described the planning as a learning experience for both the village and event organizers.
"This is the largest private event that we have had take place in town," she said. "So there has been a lot of planning. A lot of staff time has gone into it and working with the parade organizers to make sure that we have a safe and successful event."
If You GoWhat: Inaugural Buffalo Grove Pride Parade
When: 10 a.m. Sunday, June 2, with "Uniquely Us" celebration following, from noon to 4 p.m.
Where: Parade steps off at Carry Lane and Checker Drive, marches north on Checker to Ridgefield Lane; "Uniquely Us" at Mike Rylko Community Park, 1000 N. Buffalo Grove Road