86th Annual Bud Billiken Pulls the Crowd
In the tradition of the Bud Billiken Parade the 2015 86th annual event thousands turned out to cheer the parade on. Since 1929 the Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic has taken place the second weekend of August attracting thousands of viewers. Today it boasts as the largest African American Parade, the 2nd largest parade in the U.S. and the largest back-to-school parade.
The day began with the sun shinning and a breakfast hosted by the Chicago Defender Charities and true to form the political dignitaries, corporate leaders, educators, non for profit administrators and the youth were all present. There was a whole lot of networking going on before the parade began. Some of the notables in attendance were, Dr. Wayne Watson, President of Chicago State University, Peggy Montes, Treasurer Kurt Summers, Commissioner Toni Preckwinkle, Commissioner Richard Boykin, Congressman Danny Davis, Congressman Bobby Rush, Larry Huggins of Riteway-Huggins Construction, Everett Rand of Midway Airport Concessionaire, Rev. Jesse Jackson of PUSH, Morris Smith and Kathleen Strand of Coca Cola, George Daniels, Georges Music Room, State Reps, La Shawn Ford, Mary Flowers, Jacqueline Collins, Camille Lilly, Ken Dunkin, Alderman Howard Bookins, William Burns, Governor Pat Quinn, Bob Fioretti, Art Sims, Midge Kimberly, and Presidential candidate Willie Wilson shook hands, took photos with and exchanged conversation throughout the day.
Bud Billiken was a fictitious character that founding publisher Robert Abbott created in 1927 as the protector of children and at the same time encourage, inspire and promote their interest in education. The first parade kicked off August 11, 1929 children, to remind kids that it’s almost back to school time and help them get in the school state of mind. Chicago Public Schools start classes exactly one month away on September 8 this year. You can view it at any time
Despite the parade’s emphasis on children, there were plenty of adults lining King Drive for miles as the Royal Court of the Bud Billiken King and Queen, politicians, marching bands, drill teams stepped, dancers danced, in the streets the floats rolled down ML King Drive and ABC Channel 7 broadcast live!