Monday, July 17, 2006

Gay Games Kick Off in Chicago

Heat and protesters fail to spoil Gay Games Opening Ceremonies CHICAGO, IL - Despite the intense heat wave in Chicago, the seventh Gay Games have officially begun with a festive opening ceremony at Soldier Field. Thousands of spectators filled Soldier Field to welcome nearly 12,000 GLBT athletes from over 65 countries. Lead by Team San Francisco the athletes entered in an Olympic-style procession and were greeted by generous applause and cheerleaders. Chicago’s delegation finished the procession. As the sun set on the stadium situated on Chicago’s lakefront, spectators were entertained by over 1,400 dancers, acrobats and musicians. The celebrity-packed entertainment included Erasure's Andy Bell, Margaret Cho, Frankie Knuckles, Jody Watley, Megan Mullally, Heather Small, Kate Clinton and more. The opening ceremonies ended with a spectacular final number and fireworks show lighting up Chicago’s skyline. Actress Megan Mullaly said of Chicago’s Mayor Richard M. Daley, “he doesn’t bat for the team but he bats for gay rights.” As she introduced the mayor, the crowd jumped to their feet in applause. The mayor outlined his strong history of supporting Chicago’s GLBT community and promised to continue “as long as I’m mayor of this great city.” Nearly 100,000 spectators and visitors are expected to visit Chicago during the Games creating an estimated $80 million in local economic impact. Banners promoting the games are hanging on streets all over Chicago. Gay news for the Queer Australian

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