CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Preparations are underway for this year’s Pride Fest. Organizers say they’re expecting nearly 15,000 people. It would be the highest attendance since it started eight years ago.
They say the event has grown significantly over the years. Each year, they add new features and they’ve spent more money on marketing than in previous years.
“You’re going to see a lot of color throughout the weekend in downtown Champaign.”
It’s almost time for this year’s Pride Fest. Josh Laskowski says they’re expecting a record turnout.
“The event has grown significantly from being inside a building to being outside and having no parade and substantial growth when it comes to businesses and individuals to support this community.”
The event is still a few days away, but downtown is already starting to look the part. Light poles are decked out in color and banners are hung throughout the city.
“New this year, some crosswalks in downtown Champaign, in rainbow colors, like they do in other large cities.”
Pride Fest kicks off with live entertainment Friday night, then Saturday, a few thousand people will gather for the parade.
“With us living in such a diverse community, with having the university in our backyard, it’s important for every diverse group to have a celebration.”
Colleen Hatton will help with the first Teen Night. She runs Dish Passionate Cuisine. It’s something teens at the UP Center asked for. It will give them a place to hang out during the fest.
She says it’s great to see something for everyone.
“To see the community come out, honestly, I think it’s so much fun when these streets are packed and everybody is here supporting one another.”
The event takes place all weekend. There will be set ups in the parking lot in front of Soma and City View, in the Illinois Terminal.
Drivers will need to use caution when coming downtown Saturday. The parade kicks off at 4 pm, and starts at the corner of Main and Walnut.
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