CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago was bursting with pride Sunday. After a two year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 51st annual Chicago Pride Parade is back.
The parade was jam packed to the point that attendees could barely move. The energy was electric as thousands of people lined Uptown streets celebrating their true, authentic selves. Turnout is expected to be bigger than ever.
Some, like Chuck Hutchins, traveled from as far as Florida.
"It's really nice to be able to come to like a big town, city like Chicago and really feel like my true, authentic self," Hutchins said.
The parade kicked off at noon and lasted three hours. It went from Montrose and Broadway in Uptown and wound its way through the North Side, ending near Diversey Parkway and Sheridan in Lincoln Park.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said this is one of the most popular and well attended parades in the city.
"People just want to be happy. They want to love who they love. They want to celebrate with their loved ones, their allies. So we're super excited. So we're super excited to be with them," she said.
Ruben Quiroga has been coming to the Pride Parade for the past nine years.
"It's not every day that Chicago gets together like this, so it's important and show our support for not only LGBTQ, but everything, like Black Lives Matter," he said.
Anti-pride protestors broke through the gates and briefly disrupted the celebration, yelling things like "God is coming" and "repent." But the festivities did not miss a beat.
It was Elizabeth Vega's first time participating in the parade.
"Oh, it means everything," Vega said. "That's my heart, my soul, and I'm so proud of being myself and loving my wife."
The celebration was set to continue in Grand Park for the second day of Pride in the Park.
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