The Bud Billiken Parade is both the largest African-American parade in the country and one of the city of Chicago's premier back-to-school events. Once again this year, ABC 7 Eyewitness News anchors Cheryl Burton, Jim Rose, and Hosea Sanders will co-host from the broadcast booth capturing all the fun for viewers watching at home. ABC 7 Anchors Terrell Brown and Karen Jordan will also be a part of the festivities, checking out the action along the parade route.
The theme for this year's parade is "Uniting the Community through Education for 87 Years." The 2016 parade Grand Marshal is Katherine Y. Branch, director of Special Projects in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House.
The Bud Billiken Parade has the distinction of being the second largest parade in the country with more than 1.5 million people in attendance. It is the oldest and largest African American parade in the U.S. Recognized as a day of family fun and celebration that kicks off the return to class for Chicago school children, the parade has become an anticipated event in Chicago each August. Families and friends have participated, enjoyed and attended the Bud Billiken for generations.
Also participating in the annual tradition will be members of the ABC 7 Eyewitness News team including Alan Krashesky, Leah Hope, Charles Thomas with ABC 7 Windy City LIVE co-host, Val Warner, who will ride atop the station's colorful float. Val Warner is this year's honorary Grand Marshal.
The Chicago Defender Charities produces the Bud Billiken Parade; ABC 7 is a sponsor and produces the parade broadcast.
"We are proud once again this year to be the only television station in Chicago to broadcast the Bud Billiken Parade. It's gratifying for us as a local TV station to be able to showcase such an important and uplifting community event. The longstanding partnership we've enjoyed with the Chicago Defender Charities to bring the parade to all Chicagoans is something we hope to continue for many years to come," said John Idler, President and General Manager, ABC 7 Chicago.
According to Dr. Marc Sengstacke, Executive Director, Chicago Defender Charities, ""The Bud Billiken Parade is an historic event with a positive impact across generations, and across the country. It is the desire of the community, our responsibility, and our intent, to preserve the benefits of this great institution for many generations to come."
ABC 7 Eyewitness News Anchor Cheryl Burton said, "Being a Chicago native, it makes me extremely proud that my station, ABC 7 Chicago, steps up as the only TV station in town to carry the Bud Billiken parade each year. The parade has been a tradition in my family for decades so hosting the event has such special meaning for me. It is a wonderful opportunity to bring families, friends and communities together to have a spirit-filled, uplifting good time! Also, the parade marks the very important start to the new school year - with the promise of hope and new beginnings! I love being in the broadcast booth to highlight one of the greatest parades in the country!"
Anchor Hosea Sanders said, "I always feel like the Bud Billiken Parade is a huge family reunion. I truly enjoy being with the people who help to make us Chicago's number one station. The parade is so full of love and good will. It's wonderful to celebrate the very best of what makes up the real Chicago! Plus, I always get lots of delicious food and plenty of warm hugs!"
"The Bud Billiken Parade is a 2 hour party on ABC 7," said co-host Jim Rose. "It's a wonderful day to celebrate summer in Chicago and a reminder to kids about the importance of returning to school."
The Bud Billiken Parade takes place in Chicago's historic Bronzeville neighborhood beginning at Oakwood Boulevard and King Drive. From there, it continues south on King Drive to 51st Street. It continues on Ellsworth Drive (in Washington Park) from 51st Street to Garfield Boulevard (55th Street) where it disbands.
There will be picnics and fun activities following the parade which will be located in Washington Park southeast of 51st and King Dr. with free giveaways and other treats.
ABC 7's broadcast of the Bud Billiken Parade will available on-demand at abc7chicago.com.
Rubye Wilson is the producer of ABC 7's Bud Billiken parade broadcast.