City moves to protect ‘traditional parades’ canceled during pandemic

John Byrne, Chicago Tribune
·1 min read

Long-standing Chicago parades canceled during the pandemic would get first dibs on reclaiming the dates to hold their events rather than having to vie with neighborhood opponents under a plan aldermen advanced Thursday.

The “traditional parade” ordinance has long protected particular days for events such as the city’s annual massive Gay Pride and Bud Billiken parades.

That spares organizers of those parades from having to enter into a lottery with other would-be events, often proposed by competitors who want to run things themselves, said Michael Simon, deputy commissioner at the Department of Transportation.

“We have plenty of examples of infighting among neighborhood groups,” Simon said.

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The city also has to prevent two big events such as the Air and Water Show and Bud Billiken from taking place the same day, because city services would be stretched too thin trying to cover both, Simon said.

But with forced COVID-19 cancellations, the traditional parades could lose their preferred status because they didn’t pull permits this year or last year to hold the spots.

The City Council Special Events Committee on Thursday passed an ordinance to prevent usurpers from getting a shot at the dates, by excusing 2020 and 2021 cancellations from the five straight years an organization must hold a parade in order to achieve “traditional parade” status.

The full City Council will consider the proposal later this month.

Twitter @_johnbyrne