After weeks of controversy, drag show brunch finally takes place at Lake in the Hills bakery
After a whirlwind couple of weeks at UpRising Bakery and Café -- which saw vandalism, a dispute with its village, a visit by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and national media attention -- an all-ages drag show brunch finally took place Sunday at the Lake in the Hills business.
"We're ready. We've been here since 2 (a.m.) prepping and cooking, and we can't wait," owner Corinna Bendel Sac said just as she got ready to open the doors for the sold-out Rise & Shine Brunch @ Brunch show featuring three performers in drag.
"It's going to be fun. It's going to be lip-syncing. It's going to be dancing. It's going to be great food, great drinks and fun," she said.
The bakery, in a strip mall on Algonquin Road just east of Randall Road, originally scheduled a drag show open to all ages July 23. Even after receiving threats and expecting protests, Sac planned to hold the event, but she had to cancel when the shop was vandalized the night before. An Alsip man has been charged with a felony hate crime and criminal damage to property after the bakery's front windows were smashed and epithets spray-painted on the building.
Then the village of Lake in the Hills told Sac a week later that she couldn't host events at the cafe, per zoning restrictions. But they reached an agreement after the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois came to Sac's defense.
On Friday, Pritzker added his name and a message -- "Stay Strong! So much Love." -- to the growing signs of support on the boarded-up window.
Jim Kimball of Elgin, who was at the bakery when the governor stopped by, returned Sunday morning for the drag show.
"I think this is great. This shows so much support," Kimball said. "This wall is incredible. All the support from surrounding people from different towns."
Valerie Quinn of Evanston got tickets for the rescheduled show after reading news about the controversy. She said it was her first drag show, but she wanted to go more out of support for the LGBTQ community.
"I'm really delighted about it. I think it's going to be fun," Quinn said as she stood in the line to get in with friends Matt O'Brien of Arlington Heights and Laura Dundas of Chicago's Rogers Park. "Shows like this are kid-friendly, family-friendly. It's an occasion for joy and celebration. And who has so much joy in their life that they couldn't use a little more?"
There were as many children at the drag show Sunday as there were visible protesters -- at least one of each -- though there was a steady pouring of rain Sunday morning. An officer in a Lake in the Hills police car nearby kept an eye on the bakery.
Sac, who opened the bakery in November, said she plans to host additional special events there.