This time, it did not rain on the rainbow.

More than 100 people attended Evanston’s first-ever Gay Pride community picnic Saturday evening. The picnic was rained out of its originally scheduled date last month.

The event was sponsored by Evanston Pride, a group that is only two years old.

Rainbow colored kites were pulled through the sky. Signs with pink triangles ringed part of the perimeter of Ingraham Park. People enjoyed music, and made new friends.

A survey by Evanston Pride found that “ways to help meet others in the community” was a top priority.

The picnic was held in Ingraham Park, adjacent to the Civic Center.

The fact that a politically progressive city such as Evanston did even not have a gay rights group until a couple of years ago may seem hard to believe, but organization president Jackson Adams said mobilizing the LBGTQIA+ community is “why we did this.”

Sandie Elliott, a member of the Pride board and lifelong Evanstonian, said people at the picnic kept coming up to her saying “thank you for doing this.”

Elliott said while the gay rights movement deals with specific issues, it is also “inclusive of everybody.”

Katherine Gotsick, another Pride board member, is a straight woman. She said just learning about the issues is “incredibly important, and I intend to bring other people along with me.”

Evanston mayor Daniel Biss addressed the crowd, saying there is a “moral responsibility” to work against anti-gay bias.

“For all the progress we have made in society,” Biss said, “we have a long way to go.”

The picnic concluded with a candle lighting ceremony to honor gay rights activists.

“We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us,” Adams said. “Our fight is not done.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.