After being canceled last year because of the pandemic, Market Days Chicago returned with a bang this past weekend. The three days of festivities took place in Northalsted, the city’s famed LGBTQ neighborhood.
Tens of thousands turned out to mark the occasion, browsing the various street vendors, enjoying the stage entertainment or partying at the numerous bars and after-parties. Headline performers included Trixie Mattel, Todrick Hall, Greyson Chance, Ultra Naté, Angelica Ross, Jody Whatley, and Ce Ce Peniston, among others.
The staging of the event was not without some controversy. The influential Howard Brown Health Center, which normally has a presence at the event, withdrew its physical participation this year and implored organizers to follow strict Covid-19 precautions.
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In returns, the organizers offered vaccinations and rapid testing at entrances and asked anyone who was not vaccinated to wear a mask. Many of the local businesses requested proof of vaccination for entry: a move welcomed by many.
The weekend pulled in visitors from across the US.
Matthew (@atoa_man) visited from Indiana.
“It’s been ten years since the last time I’ve been to Market Days. So much has changed since then. I’ve been able to make connections with great people via social media and finally meeting them in person was a great experience. I know we are not out of a pandemic but it was nice that the bars required proof of vaccination so it made me feel a little safer to enjoy myself.”
Another first time was Jesús (@j_amundarain) from Toronto: “This was my first Market Days and I had so much fun! I loved how friendly people were everywhere and how you could easily make new friends. Everyone was just so happy to be here!”
Another, Joshua (@joshuawadds), told GayCities, “First time in Chicago. Very enlightening and welcoming. The crowd seemed very post-lockdown energized. I was very impressed with how often I had to show my vaccine card.”
Azari London (@thatssokion) called it “an epic weekend I will never forget,” telling GayCities the event was: “Full of fun, music, excitement, also great friends. Due to being in a pandemic still, the LGBTQ community of Chicago was still able to come and have lots of fun. The food and drink vendors were delish!”
“My friends and I are visiting Chicago from NYC and have had a great experience at Market Days,” @robtonics told GayCities. “The street festival was so full of energy and amazing vendors. And we’ve felt really safe going out to bars with most of them now requiring proof of vaccine to enter.
After Market Days, Chicago Pride is scheduled to go ahead on October 3 this year.
Check out more photos from Northalsted Market Days below.