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Happy Pride, Chicago!

Since the heat wave seems to be leaving, I took myself to Boystown for the Pride Parade today. It was supposed to start at noon, so I got there at 11 for a good spot. I picked the corner of Belmont and Halsted, where the parade was supposed to start, because I'd be right there when things kicked off at noon, and in the meantime, I could entertain myself watching the preparations.

This was a good idea at first. The crowd was colorful, the cops were festooned with rainbow leis, everyone was having a good time. The cops closed the streets, the parade started on time, and for forty minutes, it was lots of fun. Veterans, librarians, cops, marching bands, a local elementary school, an anti-domestic violence group that hurled chapstick into the crowd with deadly force, a few drag queens, Or Chadash -- everyone was out there having a good time.

The problem was that every single one of the half million people attending the parade wanted to stand on that same street corner, which just couldn't hold everyone. The crush of bodies was not helped by the dim bulbs who showed up half an hour after the parade started, insisted that they were supposed to be marching in the parade (one, who worked for a local politician whose name I never did catch, was afraid that she'd lose her job if she didn't get to march, which makes me wonder how dumb you have to be to show up half an hour late for a parade on which your job depends), and started hurling verbal abuse at the cops who were pointing out that, at that point, it was physically impossible for anyone to move.

About fifteen minutes after the crowd started getting dangerous, I figured it was time to leave. The Pride Parade is fun, but not worth getting smooshed to death for. So I let the crowd sort of blurp me along until I got coughed out onto Belmont, where I admired some street costumes, watched a few more floats, and then grabbed lunch and went home.

Lots of fun, and I'd totally do it again. But maybe not at that particular corner.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
perelleth
Jun. 29th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
Crowds really scare me. ut I had to laugh at the music choice in your post! :-)
frenchpony
Jun. 29th, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
Well, right before I posted, I'd been re-watching the Pride episode of Queer as Folk, and that's one of the songs played at the end.
meggins
Jun. 30th, 2009 03:25 am (UTC)
That's my eternal conumdrum. There are some live events I'd like to attend, but I just do not mix well with crowds--unless maybe there are a lot of scatter points, like in an amusement park.

Glad it worked out (mostly) for you and that you timed your escape well.
frenchpony
Jun. 30th, 2009 04:31 am (UTC)
I definitely think that trying to watch from the very starting point was probably not the brightest idea I've ever had, but hey, at least I got a good story out of it.
ns_tulkas
Jun. 30th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
You'd think the parade only turns one corner. There are whole streets, people! Reminds me of the mob scene we had today in the bus station to Tel-Aviv. And this is a country no deodorant has beaten yet, mind you.

Or Chadash? What's that?
frenchpony
Jun. 30th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
Next year, I'll definitely park myself on another part of the street, no question about that. Anywhere but where the loonies who "forgot" to get to their assigned parade place on time decide to shove through the crowd.

Or Chadash is a gay and lesbian congregation that meets at Temple Emanuel in Edgewater in Chicago.
elliska
Jul. 1st, 2009 12:15 am (UTC)
Ok, big crowds like that and I don't mix. That just sounds scary.
frenchpony
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:43 am (UTC)
There were moments when it did get minorly alarming. But I never really felt like I was in terrible danger of physical injury. I guess I just picked the right time to leave.
saadiira
Jul. 2nd, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
Crowds scare me, too. I once got smooshed at a football game at university. they'd held us in a 90+ degree tunnel for about two hours before letting us head through the three person wide (maybe) cement exit from that tunnel into the stands. It took two male friends to haul me through, and I felt bruised for days.

Still, it must be something to see a parade like that, and had to be fun. We fortunately didn't get heat wave here on the East Coast. Unfortunately, we also didn't get sun until about three days ago...not since May. laughs.

Anyway, HUGS!

-Dira-

frenchpony
Jul. 2nd, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC)
Holding people in tunnels is just cruel. At least I was out on the street, and I knew that there was a way out of the crowd if I was patient.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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