Columbia shines at Pride with one of the best floats

By Brett Marlow

For the third consecutive year, Columbia has won an award for its float entry in the Chicago Gay Pride Parade, which took place June 29 in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood.

Columbia’s ABBA-themed “Dancing Queen” float won honorable mention from judges at PRIDE Chicago, the parade’s organizer.

Niki Grangruth

In years past, Columbia’s float has won for the best organization float award for previous themes like “Nancy Sinatra” and “The Sound of Music.”

This year’s float was decorated in neon pinks, greens and blues, disco balls and a rhinestone-like ABBA sign.

About 30 Columbia alumni, staff, students from Columbia’s GLBT student organization Common Ground and friends of the college participated in the Pride Parade float.

Participants were dressed head-to-toe in sparkling silver costumes, which staff members of Jennifer Freidrich, festival and events coordinator in the Office of Collegewide Events helped to create.

The ABBA theme was decided in the Spring, said James Kinser, one of Columbia’s online communications specialists and one of the organizers of Columbia’s float.

Niki Grangruth

“We typically think of the theme idea in February or March and are actively working on constructing the float between Manifest and the Pride Parade,” Kinser said. “The month of June is when we’re [mostly] working on it.”

The float was built in the Manifest build shop located in the University Center, 525 S. State St.

Columbia began participating in the Chicago Gay Pride Parade in 2005 after asked why the college was not already participating, Kinser said.

Kinser said participating in the parade is a way to unify Columbia’s GLBT students and their allies on campus.

“Each year the participation has grown and more and more people from different departments have participated,” he said.

For more information or to take part in next year’s Pride Parade, contact K. Bradford, coordinator in the office of LGBTQ Culture and Community, at (312) 369-8594.

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