The 85th Annual Bud Billiken Parade

The 85th Annual Bud Billiken Parade

Check out these hot events for this weekend. There are some great activities for the entire family. My favorite is the 85th annual Bud Billiken Parade which is the oldest and largest African-American parade in the United States. Make sure to grab a lawn chair, refreshment, and some good company. Take your red cups and enjoy a #SummerTimeChi adventure!

Saturday, August 9th:

Saturday & Sunday, August 9-10th:

Want more suggestions? Click here for the ultimate guide to Black Chicago’s 2014 Summer Events.

Great Facts about the Bud Billiken Parade

-The Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic (also known as The Bud Billiken Day Parade) is an annual parade in Chicago, Illinois, and the oldest and largest African American parade in the United States.

-It is now the second largest annual parade in the United States.

-Since 1929, it has always been held on the second Saturday in August. 2014 is the the 85th year for the parade.

-The parade is held in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s south side starting near 39th Street and South Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. It then continues south to 55th Street at Washington Park. This route covers approximately 2 miles (3.2 km). This route takes the parade through the Grand Boulevard and Washington Park community areas.

-The parade begins at 10 A.M. and ends at 4 P.M. After the parade visitors are welcomed to stay in Washington Park for the picnic. The picnic has various festivities and vendor booths. The post-parade festivities often include a concert.

-The idea for the parade came from Robert S. Abbott, the founder of the Chicago Defender.

-Bud Billiken is a fictional character created in 1923 by Abbott, who had been pondering the possibility of adding a youth section to the newspaper. While dining at a Chinese restaurant he noticed a Billiken (a character in Chinese mythology who was the protector of children). The Bud Billiken character gained prominence in a comic strip featured in the Chicago Defender and eventually became as mascot for the paper. During the Great Depression, the Bud Billiken character served as a symbol of pride, happiness and hope for black residents.

-The purpose of the parade is the provide underprivileged children with the chance to be in the limelight and to celebrate the youth as they prepare to go back to school.

-The parade features celebrities, politicians, businessmen, civic organizations and youth. From the past, the parade has seen Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, James Brown, Bozo the Clown, Jack Brickhouse, Roy Rogers, Lena Horne, and former President Harry S. Truman. In recent years, the parade has enjoyed the company of President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, L.L. Cool J, Spike Lee, Michael Jordan, Frank Thomas, Donny Osmond, Queen Latifah, Tyler Perry, and more.

-At the 78th annual parade in 2007, then U.S. Senator Barack Obama served as the Grand Marshal for the second year in a row.

-The parade will air live on WLS-TV Channel 7 from 10AM to 1230PM.

-Chicago Defender Charities was founded in 1945 as the charity arm of the Chicago Defender newspaper. Since 2003, the charity has raised $1.2 million for its scholarship program benefiting needy college students.


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