Pride Month festival organizers focus on security in light of increase in attacks across US

Festival organizers want residents to safely celebrate Pride in Chicago

Leah Hope Image
Thursday, June 8, 2023
Chicago Pride festival organizers focus on security
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Organizers of the Andersonville Midsommerfest and Chicago Pride Fest are focusing on safety, in light of an increase in attacks across the US.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Organizers of an LGBTQIA+ friendly fest this weekend in Chicago are preparing to keep all safe, especially in light of an increase in attacks across the country.

Water was being stocked Thursday for the anticipated 80,000 people coming to Midsommerfest, along Clark Street in Andersonville this weekend.

"The first things we did this year was have some preliminary meetings with the FBI, specifically to figure out what are best practices for safety at festivals now," said Charlie Wein, the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce director of marketing and communications.

The main stage that had been at Foster Avenue will now be a block north to keep the main entrance more open.

"Unfortunately, it's become one of those realities we have to consider to a degree. We can't control, what we can do is take steps possible to prevent things from happening," Wein said.

City officials urge anyone to speak up if there is anything suspicious at upcoming events.

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"But we want to make sure that if someone sees something that looks suspicious, to make sure they are saying something to let us know because we can allocate resources slightly different if we're getting an uptick in calls in certain particular areas regarding certain instances," said Beverly Carrington, with the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Preparations are also underway for Pride Fest on North Halsted Street next weekend.

Organizers have been meeting with other Pride organizations across the country.

"We bring together a lot of different organizations: private security, Homeland Security, FBI, Chicago PD, our own staff are trained for different things," said Dusty Carpenter, the Northalsted Business Alliance Festival Committee co-chair.

Organizers said for the first time, everyone working the event will get basic triage training to control bleeding in the event of a mass incident.

"The EMTs, there is only so much they can handle, so if you have every person who's volunteering security, the bars, the gates trained to do that, it can help," Carpenter said.

Organizers hope no one will ever need to use those techniques, and, instead attendees can safely celebrate Pride and community.

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