Complete FAQ listing

1: General

2: Attending

3: Activities

4: Lodging

5: Transportation

6: Entertainment

7: Dress

8: Costs

9: Misc

Category 1: General

What is Pinkfest?

Pinkfest is the name given to an informal get-together of members of the transgender community, and their friends and guests, which happens in the fall in Chicago, IL, USA.

What do you do at Pinkfest?

We eat, drink, and be Mary.

Seriously, we spend a few days just being ourselves and take in the sights and activities of Chicago. There's shopping, dining, shows, clubs, sightseeing, socializing, etc. Read on for some examples of what you can expect.

When does this happen?

The dates for Pinkfest 2018 will be Tuesday evening, September 25 thru Sunday, September 30. These dates may now be considered final.

Pinkfest dates have now been set to begin the event on the last Tuesday in September unless specific circumsances prevent it.

What's the difference between Pinkfest and other events such as SCC, Fantasia Fair, Colorado Goldrush, etc?

Pinkfest is a vacation, not a convention.

Pinkfest is more informal, far less structured, and more real-life. It's more of an informal get-together to simply enjoy life and each other's company. (It's also far less expensive.)

Hey, this looks a lot like the Diva Las Vegas FAQ. What's the deal?

cat dlvfaq.html |sed "s/DLV/Pinkfest/g" >pinkfaq.html

Seriously, Pinkfest was started by some of the same people who first had the idea for Diva Las Vegas back in late 1996. If you've been to DLV, yes, you will see some familiar faces!

Ok, then, what's the difference between Pinkfest and Diva Las Vegas?

Well, obviously, Pinkfest is in Chicago and DLV is in Las Vegas. :)

Pinkfest is in the fall, DLV is in the spring. :)

Let's see, uh, what else? ...

Pinkfest is smaller, and probably will be smaller for at least the next several years. It's been mentioned several times that the recent Pinkfests had the look and feel of the earlier DLVs (1998-2000).

Both DLV and Pinkfest are vacations, not conventions.

It's a different setting, but a similar atmosphere. Good people, and activities that you will want to do.

Who sponsors Pinkfest?

Pinkfest has no formal organization or sponsorship. It is simply a group of individuals who agree to get together at more or less the same place at more or less the same time to enjoy the same activities and each other's company.

How long has this been going on?

The event we know as Pinkfest began in November of 2001.

Uh-huh, right after 9/11. :(

Pinkfest 2018 will be our 18th. annual Pinkfest!

Is Pinkfest a sexually-oriented event?

Nope, never has been, never will be. Likewise, Pinkfest is not a "fetish and fantasy" event.

Pinkfest is a social event for the TG community and is not sexually oriented.

How do I join the Pinkfest mailing list?

Just send a brief e-mail to: and state that you wish to join the mailing list.

Alternatively you can join the Pinkfest Yahoo group. The content will be the same on both of these.

How do I read the previous postings on the mailing list?

There are two ways to view the older posts on the Pinkfest mailing list:

1. Using our own list archives on MyDLV:

These archives go back to 2006.

2. Via Yahoo Groups:

You must be a Yahoo member and logged in to access this. Yahoo Pinkfest archives go back to 2007.

The content will be exactly the same on the mailing list, the on-line forum on MyDLV, and the Yahoo group. You will get the same exact information using all methods.

Category 2: Attending

How do I register and does it cost anything to register?

You register by sending a brief note to pinkfest@lgbt saying you intend to join us.

There is no registration fee, per se, but everybody's on one's own for such things as:

So, exactly what do I have to do if I want to attend Pinkfest?

Here's the suggested list of things you'll need to do:

  1. Read this web site carefully. Be sure you know what Pinkfest is and what it is not.

  2. Join our mailing list. It's easy, discreet, and spam-free. Just send e-mail to: and say you want to join the mailing list.

  3. Register. Just send us a note at: and say you will be joining us.

  4. Make your travel and lodging arrangements. Suggested hotels appear on our Big List and are discussed on the mailing list.

  5. Plan your wardrobe. If you have any concerns about what to wear or what to bring, ask on our mailing list.

  6. Show up and join us.

That's it. Easy, isn't it? :)

I'm under 21 years of age, can I still attend?

No. There are a number of resources available for TG teens, but Pinkfest is not one of them, sorry.

I'm 18 (or 19 or 20) years of age, can I still attend?

Although the age of 18 is considered the age of majority in some locations for some purposes, we are not allowing people who are under the age of 21 to attend, sorry.

Those under 21 are not allowed to enter several of the venues used for Pinkfest. It is unfair to invite people to Pinkfest only to have to tell them that they are not allowed at certain activities.

It is suggested that those who are of age 18 - 20 who want to attend Pinkfest do so immediately after their 21st. birthday.

Are spouses, significant others, and children welcome at Pinkfest?

Spouses and SO's of age 21 or older are most welcome to attend and to participate with the group.

As for kids, some of the daytime activities might interest them, such as the Planetarium, but we do not recommend bringing them to Pinkfest.

How about bringing friends and guests along?

If they're over 21 and know how to behave as a lady or gentleman, please feel free to bring them along. The more the merrier! :)

What is the deadline for registration?

Well, I suppose it would be shortly before the end of the affair.

Seriously, if you decide at the last minute that you would like to join us, you will be welcome.

How many people will be attending?

Due to our informal nature, we won't know until just before Pinkfest happens. We'll announce the headcounts in our mailing list.

What's your policy on admirers? Are admirers welcome?

Yes, admirers are welcome. We've always been open to anybody who identifies with the theme of Pinkfest, and who agrees to behave as a lady or a gentleman (or both).

Speaking very freely, admirers do have a reputation of coming on very strong, and it is this behavior, not the mere fact that they are admirers, that makes them unwelcome at some t* gatherings.

Although this was written for another event, we would suggest that those who consider themselves to be admirers and want to attend Pinkfest thoroughly read the Diva Las Vegas Admirers' Guide. Most everything in that guide will also apply to Pinkfest.

Anyone of any gender, orientation, and persuasion will most likely be welcome at Pinkfest as long as they behave appropriately and respect the others who will be present.

I live in the Chicago area and want to attend. What should I do?

Yes, a significant percentage of our attendees live in the greater Chicago area. Join the mailing list as usual and state that you are in the local area when you send in your registration e-mail.

When I get to Chicago, how do I "check in" and make contact with the group?

The times and locations of the various activities, along with directions and instructions for locating the group, will be given to those who register. One of the organizers will always be available via cell phone, so there will be no concern about failing to make contact or losing contact.

I'm F to M, am I still welcome?

Most definitely !! :)

Category 3: Activities

What are some of the activities that are planned?

Here are some of the things we've done in the past and/or have in mind for future Pinkfests:

How about clubs and bars that are t-friendly?

We have visited several bars and clubs that are known to be t-friendly. Yes, we will be visiting some of these for this year's Pinkfest.

Over the past few years, we've enjoyed a couple of smaller places in the Oak Park/Forest Park area in particular.

Will there be any vendors there? Are there any shops in the area that cater to TG people?

Since we're a vacation and not a convention, we won't have any exhibits or vendor hall.

However, as far as "vendors" you can patronize, there will be the entire Chicago business community!

Category 4: Lodging

At what hotel is Pinkfest held?

None! Hotels are for sleeping, not for hiding!

Pinkfest is unlike most other TG events in that it is not centered around a hotel. Pinkfest is very much on-the-town, and activities happen in all kinds of venues, both mainstream and alternative.

Where is everybody staying? Is there an official or host hotel?

Recommended hotels, as well as other accommodation items, are announced and discussed on our mailing list and in the Discussion Forum.

As always, everybody is free to stay anywhere they choose, if they wish. Some of the people attending visit Chicago frequently and have their own favorite places to stay.

We've had people stay at all kinds of places, from hoity-toity highrise hotels downtown, to economy motels out in the 'burbs. No problems with hotel staff or other patrons were reported.

Category 5: Transportation

How does everybody get to and from the various activities?

It depends. Some drive and have their own vehicle with them. Others rent a car at the airport.

However, many have found that Pinkfest is do-able and very enjoyable without having a car. Several Pinkfest activities are within easy walking distance from the popular hotels. Most of the others are close to subway, El, and Metra stations. History has shown that these methods of transportation are very "safe" to use.

The occasional taxi ride is often times quite less expensive than the cost of a rental car and parking.

For those who are uneasy taking public transportation, rides (at the rider's own risk, of course) will usually be available from others.

What about parking? I've heard it can be a nightmare in Chicago.

On-street parking in the Loop (downtown), River North district, and Lakeview (Boys Town) district can be a challenge. Parking is almost always available in convenient lots, but these can be expensive.

For downtown and River North hotels, parking is usually NOT included in the daily room rate. Some hotels do have convienient parking with easy 24 hour in/out access, but others do not. If you will have a vehicle, ask when making your hotel reservations.

Suburban hotels, clubs, and other facilities will usually have adequate free parking.

Category 6: Entertainment

Who's speaking?

You are! :)

Are there any drag or FI shows in Chicago?

Yes, we attended a downtown show lounge as a group over the years.

Category 7: Dress

Is there any dress code for Pinkfest? What should I plan to bring to wear?

We ask that you dress in a presentable manner, in good taste, and in a manner appropriate to the activity at hand, while with the group. We also ask that you refrain from dressing or acting in a manner intended to flaunt transgenderism or in a manner intended primarily to attract attention.

Since most Pinkfest activities occur in general public settings, your dress must be age-appropriate, size-appropriate, and occasion-appropriate; within the bounds of what is usual and customary to be worn by a woman (or man) of your size and age to such an activity.

For the daytime (shopping and touristy things), very casual to casual attire is best, either boymode or girlmode.

For most of the evening activities, casual to moderately dressy attire, either boymode or girlmode, is acceptable.

More specific discussions on what to bring, and what to wear for the various activities occur in the Pinkfest Mailing List.

And what about Galiano [sic] ?

Looks like somebody forgot to edit this one out of the FAQ list. :)

What if I'm new to mainstream public? Do you have dress guidelines or hints?

We don't have anything formally written. However, a similar much larger event (Diva Las Vegas) has a collection of dress-related items which may be helpful.

This collection is on line at:

Category 8: Costs

About how much does it cost to attend Pinkfest?

That depends, mainly on how much you have to pay to get to Chicago and how much you'll be spending while you're here.

How much are hotel rooms for Pinkfest?

You basically have two choices for hotels for Pinkfest:

Discussion about hotel rooms will occur on our mailing list.

If you're interested in sharing a room in order to save money, you can coordinate this with others on our mailing list.

For your dining locations, what are the price ranges?

We tend to pick places that are moderate in price.

There will most likely be one dinner planned at a more upscale restaurant for those who would like such an option.

Category 9: Misc

Who sponsors Pinkfest?

Pinkfest has no formal organization or sponsorship. It's just a group of individuals who get together to celebrate life and enjoy each other's company.

Is Pinkfest affiliated with any other TG events?

Not really. The roots of Pinkfest and the roots of Diva Las Vegas are indeed intertwined, but there's no official connection. Attendees at either event are certain to see familiar faces from the other, however.

What do you suggest I do if I want to attend but I've never been out in public before?

You will be welcome to participate either as "brother" or "sister" (or both) depending on your preference.

If you wish, you will be free to transition from one mode to the other at a time that will be primarily determined by your own comfort level. You might plan your big "coming out" to be at a time such as an evening at a club that is known to be T-friendly. Several of those attending will be willing to help you as needed, and will give you feedback as to what you should do, and what may or may not be appropriate.

Play it by ear. You will know when you're ready to appear in public.

I don't know anybody else who's going. I feel a bit uneasy.

You may not know anybody else in advance, but you will indeed be among friends!

It's normal to be concerned about this when getting together with any group of people you do not already know. Please be assured that those who attend Pinkfest are very outgoing, very inclusive, and not in any way snobby or cliquish. Most of the people attending were at one time in exactly this situation themselves.

I'm curious about how the weather will be in Chicago during Pinkfest?

In several years we had good luck with weather, and the temperature hit 70. In 2002 we had one warm evening with cool rainy days. 2003 was cool but not cold. 2006 was our only cooler-than-desirable weather so far. In 2007 it was actually uncomfortably hot and humid some afternoons.

Since we're holding Pinkfest a few weeks earlier this year, we can expect, statistically, a few degrees warmer than in the past.

We've always had a great time, however, warm, cool, hot, cold!

Weather reports will be posted in the mailing list as the date approaches.

I'm going to be in the Chicago area soon. Any recommendations on where to go and what to do?

Yes, we now have our TG Guide to the Chicago Area and our Vendor, Club, and Resource List which can give you some good pointers ass to where to go and what to do.