Chicago Pride Parade 2023: Police tackle safety concerns ahead of the parade, Pride in the Park

CHICAGO (WLS) — Crowds will throng Lakeview and Grant Park to celebrate Pride, culminating in the annual North Side parade.

Nearly 1 million people are expected to throng the streets for the city's 52nd Pride Parade on Sunday. Chicago Police Interim Supt. Fred Waller is expected to discuss public safety Friday night.

Waller will also meet with business owners and community members in the Northhalsted area to address any safety concerns they may have ahead of the weekend's festivities.

The parade departs at noon Sunday from Montrose and Broadway and ends near the Diversey and Sheridan intersection in Lincoln Park. Parades are one of the biggest pride events around the world.

Joe Sasso traveled all the way from Boston for the weekend, and says there's nothing quite like Chicago Pride.

“Everyone had a great time and enjoyed each other, and it was great fun,” said Sasso. “We've been to pride parades all over the world. We've been to Stockholm, Barcelona and for every community, it really helps the community come together.”

The Chicago Pride Parade road closures began on Sunday morning

Pride is everywhere you look along North Halsted on Friday.

“I think this march is an annual reminder that Chicago is a safe place for the LGBTQ community,” said Chicago resident Michelle Wesley.

Elevate Coffee gets ready for parade day. Manager Daniel Gil describes it as a “Black Friday” cafe.

“It's our busiest day of the year, of course. I mean, this room is full of people, and everyone is excited to have coffee and go for a walk and get away from it,” Gil says.

Last year, the parade gathered nearly 1 million people to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. Safety was a top concern with crowds filling the streets for the parade.

Northalsted Business Alliance Executive Director Kevin Barbeau said staying alert while having fun was a must this weekend.

“Be aware of your surroundings, just like any other event, whether it's a festival or a parade. But in general, be there to support your fellow marchers as well as those at the parade,” says Barbeau.

The Office of Emergency Management and Control said it was not tracking any credible threats this weekend, but asked people who went to the march to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to police.

Also taking place on Saturdays and Sundays is Pride in the Park, a music festival in Grant Park featuring LGBTQ+ artists and performers.

State lawmakers will gather Friday in Chicago to respond to recent attacks on the LGBTQ+ community locally and nationally.

If you can't make it to the North Side to party live, you can watch the 52nd Chicago Pride Parade live here on the ABC7 and ABC7 Connected TV apps from 12pm to 2pm. The broadcast will be hosted by Tanja Babich of ABC7, Hosea Sanders and Jason Knowles, who will be capturing all the action live from the streets.