Annual Chicago Pride Parade kicks off at noon Sunday

CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend Chicago's Pride Parade on Sunday.

This will be the 49th annual parade.

The parade route starts at noon at Montrose and Broadway and ends near Diversey and Sheridan Road in Lincoln Park.

Street closures will go into effect at 8 a.m. and the roads might not open until 8 p.m. Clearly marked signs will let parade goers and pedestrians know where they can cross the street. Attendees are encouraged to take public transportation and there will be extra trains on Metra.

According to the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, there was “no known threat” to public safety. But Chicago Police planned on increasing the presence of both uniformed and plain clothed officers, according to a news release from OEMC.

In the city’s Boystown neighborhood, the sign of things to come were everywhere, as rainbow flags hung outside businesses and stickers dotted storefront windows.

For Blaize Stewart and his family, they were the sign of something special.

“Before I even came out, I went to a pride parade and it just made me feel like there was hope,” he said, opening up about his sexuality.

Retailers were working overtime to sell merchandise, and at Side Track Chicago, they were expecting a capacity crowd for their viewing party.

Bradley Balof, the general manager of the bar, said it was an opportunity for those who “want to be near a bathroom (or) want to have a cocktail “while watching the parade.

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