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The Grand Daddy of Parades Strolls Today

By Tim State in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 11, 2007 2:07PM

08-2007_Bud_Billiken.jpgWe love a parade. Chicago loves a parade, and today the largest parade in the United States, the 78th Annual Bud Billiken Day Parade will march through the South Side. The parade kicks off along Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive at 10 a.m., and if you don’t want to weather the heat, you can watch a live broadcast on either WGN-TV or WLS-TV.

Chicago Defender founder Robert S. Abbott wanted to organize the youth who sold their paper, and created a club named Bud Billiken. After consulting with other community leaders, the men decided to host a Bud Billiken Day Picnic, a resounding success. The day gave children the ability to enjoy the limelight of one day, dressing in costume, marching in a parade and being seen.

More than 200 parade marshals will usher the parade along, which has been held on the second Saturday of every August since 1929, come rain or shine. If you want to watch last year’s parade, which 1.2 million people attended and in which more than 74,000 participated, you can download it in no less that 15 parts from WLS-TV’s Web site.

The CTA will detour six bus lines for the parade.

Photo courtesy of east&uptown.