Pride Parade 2010--Insider Pics!

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This was the Baton's 41st year of being in the Pride Parade. (Pic by John Gerald)

This was my second time riding in the Pride Parade on the Baton float and I will tell you this year was the best year!  Over 450,000 happy, cheering fans greeted our float at every turn.  Baton superstars Mimi Marks, Sasha Colby, Sheri Payne, Victoria LePage, Ginger Grant and owner Jim Flint had the fans rockin' to the music. And, by the way, these ladies had all worked until 3 AM that morning and were working again that night!  Now that is some dedication! 

I can only imagine what it must've been like for Blackhawk's soon-to-be-ex player, Brent Sopel, on his float as he hoisted the Stanley Cup for all of the screaming peeps. Brent and his wife Kelly rode on the Chicago Gay Hockey Association's float in memory of Brendan Burke, the gay son of the former GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the U.S. Men's Hockey Team, Brian Burke. Ernie Banks was on the Cubs float with the Ricketts family and the Grand Marshall this year was country singer Chely Wright, who just recently came out as a lesbian.  She said, "Imagine 39 years of hiding."  State Rep. Deb Mell walked with her partner, Christin Baker, to whom she became engaged to in April

I had the unique opportunity of meeting Brent Sopel and listening in on his interviews inside Clark St. Dogs and he is a class act who loves Chicago and will be sorely missed.  He said his wife and kids will stay here and that Chicago will always be his home.  Nice to hear!  Justin Jacobson and his cute girlfriend, Leila Khoury, and Scott Norton and his charming wife, Kara,  were instrumental in arranging for this Stanley Cup coup so congrats to them on a job well done!

I got there early to our Baton float (number 41) and Tim Gideon was busy making sure the sound system was perfect. I glanced across the way and saw, lo and behold, the Stanley Cup float!!  OMG!  I rushed over and who did I see checking THEIR sound system but Justin Jacobson.  I was thrilled to have an "in" and sure enough, I also knew their photog, Tyler Curtis!  Tyler took my pic with Brent who couldn't have been nicer to ALL of the fans.  I was beyond impressed.  There wasn't a photo op or interview that was too long.  He patiently took pics with everyone and anyone who asked and I was thrilled to have met him.  After the parade, the Stanley Cup headed to Casey Moran's in Wrigleyville for a meet-and-greet.

The parade itself wound its way up and down the streets of Lakeview....people of all shapes, stripes and colors were dressed and ready to celebrate!  Everywhere you looked, from the rooftops on down, held happy was a very joyous occasion until you reached the end of the route and saw the hater's signs.  So sad.....but we can only hope that next year's parade will bring even more enlightenment.  Here's hoping....(Special thanks to photog extraordinaire, Tyler Curtis, for additional pics.)  




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