Springfield holds first Pride Parade

Illinois State Capitol and downtown Springfield. (Photo by Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

SPRINGFIELD — The state capital held it’s first-ever Pride Parade on Saturday, May 20, the State Journal-Register reported.

The parade went down Fifth Street after starting at Allen Street and ended in the downtown area at the site of the annual PrideFest festival. The event was sponsored by the Phoenix Center, Springfield’s gay community center. Organizers told the newspaper they had been considering adding a parade for awhile, and decided to move ahead with the idea this year.

Roy Pyers, a co-chair of the festival, told the Journal-Register that more than 10,000 people attended this year. There also more than 70 vendors, more than twice from last year.

“It’s been consistent attendance all day. The Pride Parade this morning really brought people out early. A lot of people are staying throughout the day,” Pyers told the paper.

Many of the festivities were in memory of M.T. Vann, a local activist who passed away in December 2016.

Springfield’s parade joins the growing list of Pride celebrations across the state, including Peoria, Bloomington/Normal, Champaign and Rockford.