Pride Parade Switches Gears With Drive

Eric DeGrechie

BUFFALO GROVE, IL — Based on the success of its inaugural year, the second edition of the Buffalo Grove Pride Parade was supposed to be even bigger and prouder. Sadly, due to COVID-19, the festivities have been put on hold until 2021 as the June event was recently canceled. Luckily, organizers have an alternative party planned for next month.

Instead, the Buffalo Grove Pride Drive is set for noon-3 p.m. on June 7.

"Our family planned to celebrate pride on our lawn no matter what after we realized that we needed to cancel this year's parade," said Carolyn Pinta, of the nonprofit The Pinta Pride Project, which puts on the parade. "We decided that inviting others to participate would be simple and fun. We were insanely excited when so many families and organizations jumped in to join us."

Pinta's daughter, Molly, was a 12-year-old student at Twin Groves Middle School when she decided her hometown desperately needed a parade to celebrate the LGBTQ community. With the help of her parents, Molly formed The Pinta Pride Project to "keep pride coming to Buffalo Grove every year and to support other young people in bringing their own events." Among Molly's goals with the organization is to make gay normal and seen.

Last year, Buffalo Grove's first-ever LGBTQ pride parade was a rousing success. The organizers are excited about what 2021 will bring when it returns. They're also determined to continue getting The Pinta Pride Project's message out.

"We think that pride and the rainbow in general are such symbols of love and acceptance of all people. With the polarized state of our country right now, we feel that this message is especially important," Carolyn Pinta said. "My husband and I are both teachers who have been teaching from home since mid-March. These days, it's all about thinking outside the box.

On June 7, among the highlights, will be Balloons by Tommy, music, rainbow treats and more. As participants parade around town in their cars, residents are encouraged to step outside their homes and give everyone a friendly wave.

Many houses along the BG Pride Drive route will be collecting non-perishable food items for the Vernon Township Food pantry. If residents and their families are planning to attend, organizers encourage them to donate one item per person. Additionally, 50 percent of all monetary donations made to the Pinta Pride Project on the day of the Drive will also benefit the Vernon Township pantry.

If the weather cooperates, organizers are expecting at least 90 homes in Buffalo Grove to be decorated in rainbow style with streamers, balloons, flags and creative takes on the colors.

"There will be DJ's and drag queens to wave to at various homes and all kinds of unexpected guests from Mickey Mouse to Santa Claus, all with a pride spin," Carolyn Pinta said. "Many homes will hand out curbside safe treats such as packaged skittles and professionally packaged pride cookies as well as all kinds of rainbow swag."

A virtual map and list of all of the homes will be available at pintaprideproject.com and families are encouraged to visit as many as they like between noon-3 p.m. For more information or to contribute to the event, contact thepintaprideproject@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on the Buffalo Grove Patch