Bud Billiken Parade Kicks Off Festivities Saturday Morning

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The annual Bud Billiken Parade will send an array of floats down Chicago's streets Saturday morning.

The Chicago tradition dating back to 1929 celebrates African American culture and Black youth heading back to school. The parade will kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday.

According to organizers, it's one of the largest Black parades in the country -- and this summer is the first time since 2020 that participants will march the full, two-mile parade route.

The parade, which is expected to be attended by more than 10,000 spectators, features over 200 marching bands, drills teams, dance teams, tumblers and more. It also awards school scholarships and has donated thousands of schools supplies to Chicago students, organizers say.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez and additional senior CPS members are expected to join the parade's festivities.

The parade's Grand Marshal will be Jeremih, Grammy-nominated R&B singer and Morgan Park High School graduate.

According to a press release, the Chicago native will donate hundreds of school supplies and book bags during the event.

“I am excited and honored to pay homage to the legacy of the Bud Billiken parade, which is a huge part of my childhood.” Jeremih said in the release.

Here's when the parade begins, where it takes place and more.

Parade start time: 10 a.m. Saturday

Parade procession and two-mile route: Beginning in Bronzeville at 39th Street and Martin Luther King Drive, the procession will head south of King Drive, through Washington Park. The parade ends at Garfield Boulevard on 55th Street.

Festival: The event continues after the parade with a family-friendly event at Washington Park until 4 p.m.

Getting There: As some streets may be closed, public transportation or ridesharing is advised. According to the TA, extra bus service will be provided on several routes that serve the parade area, including #3 King Drive, $3 Cottage Grove, #15 Jeffery Local, #29 State, #43 43rd, #47 47th, and #55 Garfield.

Security: According to Chicago Police Department Supt. David Brown, as part of security measures, Chicago police officers will specifically be paying attention to rooftops, and are asking the public to report any suspicious behavior.

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