Supporters of LGBTQ community come together for Buffalo Grove Pride Drive

  • Rich and Leesa Berman of Buffalo Grove drive past homes along Thompson Boulevard during the 2021 Buffalo Grove Pride Drive Sunday afternoon. Numerous homes and businesses were decorated for Pride Month. The event was sponsored by the Pinta Pride Project.

    Rich and Leesa Berman of Buffalo Grove drive past homes along Thompson Boulevard during the 2021 Buffalo Grove Pride Drive Sunday afternoon. Numerous homes and businesses were decorated for Pride Month. The event was sponsored by the Pinta Pride Project. Ryan Rayburn/for the Daily Herald

  • Joann Smith of Mount Prospect waves from her car during the 2021 Buffalo Grove Pride Drive on Sunday afternoon. Numerous homes and businesses decorated for the event sponsored by the Pinta Pride Project.

    Joann Smith of Mount Prospect waves from her car during the 2021 Buffalo Grove Pride Drive on Sunday afternoon. Numerous homes and businesses decorated for the event sponsored by the Pinta Pride Project. Ryan Rayburn/for the Daily Herald

 
 
Updated 6/7/2021 8:40 AM

It might have been called the Buffalo Grove Pride Drive, but for anyone who participated in Sunday's event backing the local LGBTQ community, it really was a party.

A glorious, energetic and joyful party complete with loud pop tunes, gigantic rainbow-colored balloon displays, drag queens and even a few supportive politicians.

 
Visitors walk along Thompson Boulevard during the 2021 Buffalo Grove Pride Drive on Sunday afternoon. Numerous homes and businesses decorated for the event for visitors to drive by and celebrate. It was sponsored by the Pinta Pride Project.
Visitors walk along Thompson Boulevard during the 2021 Buffalo Grove Pride Drive on Sunday afternoon. Numerous homes and businesses decorated for the event for visitors to drive by and celebrate. It was sponsored by the Pinta Pride Project. - Ryan Rayburn/for the Daily Herald

"Love is love," state Sen. Julie Morrison of Lake Forest told the exuberant crowd in front of organizer Carolyn Pinta's house on Thompson Boulevard. "Crank the music!"

The Pride Drive was held in place of a parade for the second straight year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 100 homes and businesses throughout town were decorated with rainbow motifs for the event, including many in the Pinta family's neighborhood.

People were encouraged to walk, bike or drive from location to location to celebrate.

The Pinta home was ground zero, attracting countless partyers of many ages, races, genders and sexual orientations. Although it was hot, shade trees and a gentle breeze kept people from overheating.

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Ethan Sheng, 4, of Buffalo Grove waves a flag out of his family's car sunroof during the 2021 Buffalo Grove Pride Drive on Sunday afternoon. Numerous homes and businesses decorated for the event, sponsored by the Pinta Pride Project.
Ethan Sheng, 4, of Buffalo Grove waves a flag out of his family's car sunroof during the 2021 Buffalo Grove Pride Drive on Sunday afternoon. Numerous homes and businesses decorated for the event, sponsored by the Pinta Pride Project. - Ryan Rayburn/for the Daily Herald

"I would like to think that the Pride gods are smiling on us," Carolyn Pinta said.

Pinta's 15-year-old daughter, Molly, inspired and helped develop the original Buffalo Grove Pride Parade in 2019. She was pleased people could come together and celebrate "(and) worry much less about COVID," she said.

As a DJ played music, volunteers sold an array of Pride T-shirts, flags and other gear from tables on the Pintas' driveway. Nearby, potential customers perused a tent filled with LGBT-themed artwork.

"It's my second year being out here with the Pinta family. It's a good way to see more faces and it's a safe way to do it," says Trevor Neff of Peoria, also known as Miss Flo NoMo', while waving to passing cars along with Ashlynn Rose, right, outside the Pinta family home during the 2021 Buffalo Grove Pride Drive.
"It's my second year being out here with the Pinta family. It's a good way to see more faces and it's a safe way to do it," says Trevor Neff of Peoria, also known as Miss Flo NoMo', while waving to passing cars along with Ashlynn Rose, right, outside the Pinta family home during the 2021 Buffalo Grove Pride Drive. - Ryan Rayburn/for the Daily Herald
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Hawthorn Woods resident Neil Koplitz and his husband, Brian O'Connor, were among the browsers.

Koplitz was emotional about the event, saying it's amazing "to know that we can walk around together as a couple without fear of persecution."

With the COVID-19 crisis easing in the U.S., the Pintas hope the parade will return in June 2022.

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