CHICAGO - Two years ago, the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago featured huge signs quoting then-GOP candidate Bruce Rauner telling conservative downstaters that if he were governor, he would have vetoed same sex marriage in Illinois. Incumbent Pat Quinn had just signed the bill into law after passing the Illinois House with one Republican vote to spare.
Things have changed since then. The U.S. Supreme Court made same sex marriage legal nationwide and now-Governor Bruce Rauner will be visiting Navy Pier's first Gay Pride celebration Saturday, a memo from his office said Saturday morning.
PrideFest is a "family-friendly" event coordinating with the city's annual Gay Pride Parade on Sunday.
PrideFest offers performances by About Face Youth Theatre and Milly's Orchid Show, a mass wedding ceremony and an outdoor dance party with DJ Ralphi Rosario.
On display as part of the event will be Chicago-centric sections of The NAMES Project’s AIDS Memorial Quilt, which last visited Navy Pier in 1988.
Among the day's highlights on the rainbow-festooned pier:
- 12pm: About Face Youth Theatre's It's For Real, featuring stories drawn from the performers' lives
- 1pm: The Lakeside Pride Marching Band leads a parade down the pier
- 1:30pm: A special edition of Milly's Orchid Show, a Chicago variety-show staple in the ’90s, with host Milly (Brigid Murphy) welcoming guests including Yuri Lane, ALEXA GRÆ and Robert Cornelius
- 5pm: "Chicago's Biggest Wedding," officiated by trans entrepreneur Angelica Ross
- 7pm: Dance party in the Miller Lite Beer Garden
- 10:15pm: Moment of silence for the Orlando shooting victims, followed by a Pride-themed fireworks display
The annual Gay Pride Parade is expected to attract hundreds of thousands on Chicago streets Sunday afternoon. In recent years, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk and before her sudden death, Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka were statewide Republican elected officials that participated in the event.
Rauner's memo says he will be attending an American Legion Youth Police Camp in Springfield during the Gay Pride Parade on Sunday.