CHICAGO The 2nd Annual Pier Pride is set to return to Navy Pier, one of the top nonprofit cultural destinations in the Midwest, on Saturday, June 24 with a full day of Pride activities along the lakefront. Free and open to the public, the family-friendly event is the largest Pride celebration in Chicago outside of the Lakeview neighborhood.
As part of the celebration, Navy Pier looks forward to welcoming back The NAMES Project's AIDS Memorial Quilt. The internationally-renowned quilt, featuring Chicago-centric panels, will once again be on display for public viewing from Saturday, June 17 through Sunday, June 25 in the lower-level corridor below Festival Hall, near Riva Crabhouse. As a special addition to this year's showcase, nearly 50 original and powerful photographs from the inaugural 1988 Quilt exhibit at Navy Pier, captured by photographer Lisa Howe-Ebright, will also be on display for public viewing.
On June 24, Pier Pride will officially kick off at noon with a fitness class at the base of the Wave Wall staircase that connects the South Dock to Pier Park, where theCentennial Wheel is located. Fitness Formula Club will lead guests through "The Big Gay Get-In-Shape," a 20-minute high-intensity workout session.
Following the fitness class, children and families are invited to gather at the Wave Wall for Story Time with Drag Queens, presented by Muffy Fishbasket. The drag queens will read various storybooks to children throughout the day and be available for photos with the children and their parents following story time.
Popular local drag queen, "Charlene Unger from Berwyn, Ill.," will emcee the day's program and perform several musical numbers alongside the Ungertones. The Lakeside Pride Marching Band will also be on hand for a live performance and grand parade down the South Dock, while Young Chicago Authors' Louder Than a Bomb, the world's largest youth poetry slam competition, will conduct a Pride-themed poetry reading called "Prouder Than a Bomb."
In the evening, social justice educator, diversity professional and international keynote speaker Precious Davis will commence Chicago's Big Fat Gay Wedding, the largest same-sex wedding in the city, as she officiates a series of marriage ceremonies for LGBT couples along the South Dock, against the stunning backdrop of Lake Michigan and the iconic Chicago skyline. Interested couples can bring their marriage certificates and get legally married at the Pier.
Live entertainment will continue throughout the evening at the Miller Lite Beer Garden with a full lineup of local talent, including highly acclaimed DJs, Ron Geronimo and Grammy Award-nominated remixer, composer and producer Ralphi Rosario. The program in the Miller Lite Beer Garden will also feature Chicago stars Taylor Bennett, popular hip hop artist and brother of Grammy Award winner Chance The Rapper, and Big Dipper, "the raunchy big boy bear of rap," whose crazy antics and unique performances have landed him as one of "Hip Hop's Queer Pioneers" by DETAILS Magazine.
The festivities will conclude with a special dance performance by samba dancer and instructor Edilson Lima and company, followed by a disco-themed firework show as part of Navy Pier's Aon Summer Fireworks.
"Welcoming people of all backgrounds is at the heart of Navy Pier's mission and values," said Steve Abrams, guest artistic director at Navy Pier. "The annual Pier Pride celebration is an event that embraces the ideals of respect, tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness. Navy Pier is proud to open its doors and welcome individuals from all walks of life to the People's Pier for this much-needed celebration of love."
In addition to the planned events and activities, several tents will line the South Dock with representation from various local organizations, including Century 21 SGR ( offering fair housing information ), Chicago PrEP Working Group ( promoting PrEP4Love ), Howard Brown Health Center ( providing free HIV screenings ), Legacy Project and more. Pier Pride merchandise, including tanks, T-shirts and tote bags, will be available for sale, and free face painting will be offered by Rosa Cline at the tents.
Navy Pier is also set to light certain building assets and attractions, including the iconic Centennial Wheel, in rainbow colors in honor of the Pride festivities. Rainbow balloons, pennants and flags will be displayed proudly across the landmark throughout the celebration.
TIME PROGRAM LOCATION
12 PM The Big Gay Get-In-Shape Wave Wall
12:30 PM Story Time with Drag Queens Wave Wall
1 PM Charlene Unger and Ungertones Wave Wall
1:30 PM Story Time with Drag Queens Wave Wall
2 PM Lakeside Pride Marching Band Wave Wall
3 PM Prouder Than a Bomb Wave Wall
3:30 PM Charlene Unger Wave Wall
4 PM Prouder Than a Bomb Wave Wall
4:30 PM Story Time with Drag Queens Wave Wall
5 PM Prouder Than a Bomb Wave Wall
5:30 PM Chicago's Big Fat Gay Wedding South Dock
5:30 PM DJ Ron Geronimo Miller Lite Beer Garden
6:45 PM Taylor Bennett Miller Lite Beer Garden
7 PM DJ Ralphi Rosario Miller Lite Beer Garden
8:45 PM Big Dipper Miller Lite Beer Garden
9 PM DJ Ralphi Rosario Miller Lite Beer Garden
9:30 PM Edilson and Samba Dancers Miller Lite Beer Garden
10:15 PM Disco Fireworks Pierwide
Pier Pride is just one of the many examples of Navy Pier's commitment to raising its profile as a nonprofit, with continued focus on offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs, as outlined in the organization's mission and values. As the Fifth Third Bank Centennial Celebration continues in 2017, the Pier looks forward to introducing more exciting and innovative year-round programming for guests to experience and enjoy for free. For more information on this and other special offerings at the Pier, please visit www.navypier.com .
See www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Remembering-NAMES/59526.html for a display of images from a previous AIDS Quilt exhibition at Navy Pier.