Preparations underway for Sunday's annual Chicago Pride Parade

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More than one million people are expected on the North Side for Chicago's annual Pride Parade, and organizers are promising a fun, festive and safe experience for all. (WLS)

More than one million people are expected on the North Side for Chicago's annual Pride Parade, and organizers are promising a fun, festive and safe experience for all.

"It's a celebration of life, who we are and what we have all accomplished, especially in the last 47 years since the Stonewall Rebellion," says parade coordinator Richard Pfeiffer.

The parade will kick off on a somber note, remembering the victims of the Orlando gay nightclub massacre.

"We are going to have 49 people holding photographs of each one of the people who lost their lives," Pfeiffer says.

Law enforcement officials across the country are stepping up security measures in light of Orlando, and Chicago is no different. More officers will be along the parade route. There are no known threats to the parade, but law enforcement officials remain on high alert.

"People should plan on coming down to this event and enjoying themselves. The city has put a lot of time and resources to make sure this event is safe," says Rich Guidice, OEMC Managing Deputy Director of Operations.

"I also want to emphasize the fact that it's not just us that's going to be out there, we have gotten offers of assistance, we have taken advantage of those offers, from our federal partners, primarily from the FBI, but the state police as well," says Chicago Police First Deputy Supt. John Escalante.

The parade this year will also be shorter, down by 55 entries from 2015, which is just one of several steps taken to address the pushback from some neighbors that the celebration has gotten out of control.

"There is now $1,000-plus fines if you are caught with an open alcohol, you're coming to the parade route, you're urinating," Pfeiffer says.

At the Center on Halsted, an LGBT community center, the pride celebration is already underway. This year they're trying to get the word out about how the state budget impasse is affecting their HIV testing services.

"We are really arming the people who come into our center to go reach out to their lawmakers. We area also still seeing people but we are recognizing our capacity in the future will be limited," says Peter Johnson, Center on Halsted.

Sunday is expected to be very hot and humid, with highs near 90 degrees before humidity, so there will be medical tents set up along the parade route. Organizers and emergency personnel just ask that attendees keep themselves hydrated.
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societyentertainmentpride paradelgbtfestivalsummerChicago - UptownChicago - LakeviewChicago - Wrigleyville
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