The Complete Guide to Illinois LGBTQ+ Pride Events

LGBTQ+ Pride Guide of Illinois
Photo by Charly DeBlas from Pexels

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Illinois embraces Pride season with events that cater to everyone under the rainbow. Whether you’re a long-time Pride-goer or a “newbie” to the scene, you can find a welcoming atmosphere filled with high energy. From street festivals and parades that stretch for blocks, to smaller gatherings that connect the community, Illinois’ LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations are as different as they are fun. Check out our list of the biggest and best Pride events happening throughout the year in the Prairie State, with our complete guide to Illinois Pride.

Alton Pride Events

Alton Pride Festival – The Alton Pride Festival in September at the Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater is a day of local vendors peddling their wares, live music, and the ever-popular crowd favorite, drag show. There’s also a kids’ area, making it a fun day for all. 

Bloomington Pride Events

Bloomington Pride Fest – Taking place in downtown Bloomington, typically in August, the festival is a day-long event of live music, food, local artists and business vendors. With educational panels and a kids’ area, the Bloomington Pride Fest welcomes all.

Pride Picnic – The Pride Picnic is held in Normal, in June at Anderson Park. This family-friendly “festival” has a laid-back vibe in a picnic-style setting. Attendees can enjoy food, games, and live entertainment.

The Bistro Pridefest – The Bistro, a popular bar in Bloomington, hosts Pridefest. This September event includes a weekend of activities, highlighted by drag shows and live DJ sets, attracting a crowd ready to dance and party.

Carbondale Pride Events

Southern IL Pridefest – This weekend-long bash takes over downtown Carbondale in June. You can munch on tasty eats from local vendors while checking out the colorful parade and live bands. Plus, there are workshops and activities that mix fun with learning about LGBTQ+ topics.

Champaign Pride Events

Champaign-Urbana PrideFest Parade & Fair – The Champaign-Urbana PrideFest lights up downtown Champaign every September. The weekend is packed with a big parade, live music, and street performances. Food trucks line the streets, serving up all kinds of great street food.

Chicago Pride Events

Chicago Pride Fest – Kicking off the weekend before the big parade, the Chicago Pride Fest is held in the Northalsted area. The fest has two stages for bands and drag shows, plus tons of food and drink stalls. You can also browse booths of local crafts and clothes. It’s a laid-back lead-up to the parade, where you can hang out, enjoy the tunes, and “get your pride on.”.

Chicago Pride Parade – Starting in the Uptown neighborhood and winding through the city to Lincoln Park, this huge event in June draws crowds from all over, with creative floats and marching bands. You can also catch some amazing performances on the route. After the parade, the party continues in the nearby bars and clubs, with music and dancing until late.

Pride in the Park – Pride in the Park is a two-day music festival held in Chicago’s Grant Park, usually in late June. You can enjoy big-name artists and DJs on multiple stages. Along with the music, there’s plenty of food trucks and drink options to keep the party going. It’s a cool mix of concert vibes and Pride celebration, right in the heart of the city.

Pride North Chicago Block Party – A street party that transforms Glenwood Avenue in the Rogers Park neighborhood in late June, this event has several live music stages, featuring local bands and DJs. There’s plenty of food and drink vendors lining the streets, creating a more relaxed vibe where you can just stroll, enjoy the music, and be part of the neighborhood.

Pride South Side Festival – Bringing a unique Pride celebration to Chicago’s South Side in July,  and hosted in locations like parks and community spaces, Pride South Side Festival blends music, art, and food. The community-focused festival includes performances by local artists, and a market with crafts and goods from South Side businesses. 

Andersonville Midsommarfest – Andersonville Midsommarfest takes over Clark Street in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago in early June. It’s a weekend-long street festival with lots of live music, from rock to pop. Vendor booths selling all sorts of stuff, from art to local eats, the fest also has a dedicated kids’ area, making it great for families. 

Aurora Pride Parade – The Aurora Pride Parade steps off in downtown Aurora in mid-June on a Sunday afternoon. With floats and groups marching, local businesses often join in, too, and there’s a good mix of music and performances throughout the parade route. After the parade, you can head to nearby restaurants and bars, where the celebration continues.

Bolingbrook Pride Picnic & Puppies – It’s a picnic for the whole family at the Bolingbrook Performing Arts Center in June, with a unique twist, a puppy parade! Alongside the cute pups, there are food trucks, local vendors, and live music. It’s a fun way for folks to hang out, enjoy the outdoors, and celebrate Pride with their furry friends.  

Buffalo Grove Pride Parade – Taking place in June, this Sunday parade winds through the local neighborhoods of Buffalo Grove. Families and community groups often decorate their lawns to join in the fun. It’s a small-town parade with a big heart, where everyone gets together to show their support for the queer community.

Community Pride Celebration – Held at the Des Plaines Public Library in June, this one-day event brings together local musicians and speakers. There are activities and crafts, especially geared towards families and kids. It’s a friendly atmosphere where the community comes together to enjoy music, learn, and celebrate Pride.

Starry Nights Pride Celebration – The Starry Nights Pride Celebration takes place on a June evening, in a local park in Homewood. Combining a night under the stars with a celebration of Pride, attendees get to enjoy live music and stargazing, with telescopes set up for a closer look at the night sky. It’s a chill, outdoor event where you can lay back on blankets and enjoy the tunes.

Park Forest Pride Party -.Held in Downtown Park Forest in July, this one-day event gets going in the afternoon with live music from local bands as well as DJs. There are food stalls and craft vendors, plus a special area for kids’ activities. This party is about hanging out, enjoying good tunes, and celebrating Pride

Plainfield Pride Fest – The Plainfield PrideFest is held in downtown Plainfield in August. This day-long festival kicks off in the morning and includes both live performances and music. There are food trucks serving up delicious bites and booths of local arts and crafts. Family-friendly and free, it’s a great way to celebrate Pride.

Skokie Pride – Skokie Pride is a summer event, typically held in June at the Skokie Public Library. This afternoon celebration has a mix of live music, local speakers, and community booths. There’s an area with activities for kids, plus food available from local vendors.   

Decatur Pride Events

Decatur Illinois Pride Fest – A yearly event in Central Park, Decatur in September, the festival starts in the afternoon and goes into the evening, with live music from local bands. You can enjoy food vendors and information booths from local organizations and businesses, while celebrating Pride with the Decatur community. 

Dixon Pride Events

Dixon Pride Fest – The Dixon Pride Fest, held in Page Park in June, is a small-town Pride experience at its finest. With drag shows, vendors, food trucks, and live music provided by local bands throughout the day, it’s one you won’t want to miss. 

Elgin Pride Events

Elgin Pride Parade & Festival  – Downtown Elgin buzzes with an all-ages, all-inclusive event where a parade meets a festival in Festival Park. The parade steps off in the morning followed by the festival where there’s food, live bands, and a market full of one-of-a-kind finds. Plus, there’s dance shows, face painting, and loads of activities for everyone to enjoy. 

Elmhurst Pride Events

Elmhurst Family Pride Fest – A chill day out in Wilder Park in June, the festival has a mix of local bands, food, and plenty of games for the kids. They also throw in some craft-making and storytelling sessions, making it a hit for the younger crowd. It’s like a big family picnic, where everyone’s welcome to kick back, eat some good food, and just enjoy hanging out.

Galena Pride Events

Galena Pride Picnic  – Pack your picnic basket, grab a blanket and a chair, and head on down to historic Grant Park for the Galena Pride Picnic, where all are welcome to attend. While you’re there, pick up a free swag bag of goodies, enjoy live music and entertainment, and visit the local vendor tables. And be sure to buy your raffle tickets for a chance to win some great prizes.

Joliet Pride Events

Joliet PrideFest – Joliet PrideFest is packing loads of fun with a resource fair of local non-profits, food trucks, and a DJ spinning the tunes. Kids get a kick out of face painting and touch-a-truck with the Joliet Police and Fire departments. For entertainment, there’s Story Time with a local drag performer and a musical review starring past and present Miss Gay Joliets.

Kewanee Pride Events

Kewanee Pride Fest – Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park is the place to be for the Kewanee Pride Fest. Booths from local businesses and organizations give out free stuff, food, and information. There are drag artists and local bands rocking the stage all day. Following the festival, there’s a 21+ after-party hosted by one of the local watering holes.

Logan County Pride Festival – The Logan County Fairgrounds pavilion is humming with music and art, while folks enjoy games and check out stalls from vendors and local organizations. You can grab food, cool down with ice cream, and try your luck with raffles and a silent auction. There’s even a pet pride fashion contest!! The festival wraps up with a family-friendly drag show.  

Paxton Pride Events

The City of Paxton Pride March – To celebrate pride month, grab your rainbow flag, glitter, and walking shoes, and get set to march down N. Market Street through downtown Paxton and ending up at Pells Park. Once there, the main pavilion transforms into an afternoon celebration of food, music and mingling.

Ottawa Pride Events

Ottawa Family Pride Festival – Downtown Ottawa shows its rainbow side with the Ottawa Family Pride Festival Parade in June. The streets are lined with vendors, artists, and food stalls, while live music plays and drag queens entertain. The parade kicks off the festivities with walkers, vehicles, bands, and floats making their way down LaSalle Street and finishing up at Jordan Block Park.

Peoria Pride Events

River City PrideFest – The River City PrideFest in July is a day of music and drag performances, a special Kids’ Zone and over 100 vendors and community groups. Adults 18 and up need to purchase a $5.00 admission ticket. Bring a non-perishable food item for the pantry at Neighborhood House and get $1.00 off of your admission. Bring 5 items, and you get in for free.

Quincy Pride Events

Pride in the Park – When the calendar turns to September, the “Gem City” celebrates pride with their Pride in the Park at Clat Adams Bicentennial Park. It’s a free event where everyone’s welcome. Enjoy drag shows, art vendors, and good eats from local food trucks, while taking in the picnic-like atmosphere.   

Rock Island Pride Events

Quad City Pride Festival – Schwiebert Riverfront Park, Downtown Rock Island is the place to be for the Quad City Pride Festival. This weekend-long event in June, features drag shows, live music, burlesque, booths of local merchants, businesses, vendors, community organizations, and a whole lot more.

Round Lake Beach Pride Events

Lake County PrideFest – One of the most anticipated events of the summer in Lake County is its June Pride Festival. With food trucks, a beer and beverage tent, craft and artisan vendors, a resource fair, games, activities and entertainment for children, drag shows, music and performances, it’s a great day of fun for both kids and grown ups.

Springfield Pride Events

Springfield PrideFest  – Happening in May, the festival has over 100 vendors, live entertainment,  bands, and drag shows. Adding to the fun is a family area, a youth and teen talent show, and plenty of food and drinks, making it an event full of activities for all ages.

Pride in Petersburg – This day-to-night celebration in June is packed with music, activities, food, and drinks for all ages. A stage with entertainment is on the northwest corner of the square, while downtown bars and eateries have food and drink specials, and boutiques stay open late. Enjoy a pride-themed “glitter beer”, lots of  activities and live band karaoke.

Illinois Pride Events: Getting Your Queer Kicks on Route 66

Route 66, Illinois’ historic highway, known as “The Mother Road,” starts in Chicago and runs through the entire state. So, too, do Illinois pride events. From the big city vibes of Chicago’s massive Pride Parade to the hometown feel of festivals in cities like Springfield and Bloomington, there’s a whole lot of places to celebrate pride. From May through September, Illinois turns into a journey through different communities, all celebrating Pride in their own way.

**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida and beyond, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

Events are subject to change. Please check the events webpage for updates and schedules.

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july, 2024

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