CHICAGO - Final touches and preparations are being done for the 88th Annual Bud Billiken Parade, which steps off tomorrow morning on Chicago's South Side.
The annual event is a family tradition that works to get children excited about education and going back to school. It is the largest African American parade in the country.
The parade route is in the city's Bronzeville neighborhood, running along Martin Luther King Drive between Oakwood Boulevard and 51st Street.
Final preparations for Bud Billkien Parade Saturday
Chatham native and hometown hero Chance the Rapper will serve as the parade's grand marshal. He also announced he will donate 30,000 stuffed backpacks for children along the parade route, and teased perhaps more surprises in store.
"He is Chicago's hometown hero and that's the theme this year, celebrating hometown heroes. He has definitely been a champion and a voice for the city," said Kristal Davis, Senior Vice President of Communications for Chicago Defender Charities.
He also tweeted to his followers to be on time for the parade.
ABC7's Cheryl Burton will have an exclusive interview with Chance during the parade.
Not to be overshadowed, Earnest Carver serves as this year's parade king.
"The Bud Billiken is all about going back to school, and I'm passionate in my subjects so I really like doing stuff like this," Carver said.
The South Shore Drill Team will also make their triumphant return to the Bud Billiken Parade Saturday after organizers lifted restrictions on the number of youths who can march with the unit.
The 170 team members will step off in brand new uniforms to rile the tens of thousands of parade-goers lining King Drive.
"We just want to give kids a chance to perform, this is our main event," said Rodney Nelson, co-captain.
ABC7 is proud to be the only media sponsor of the Bud Billiken Parade. You can watch the parade live from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday on ABC7, digital channel 7.2, and streaming on abc7chicago.com and the ABC7Chicago news app.
After the parade, the entire broadcast will be available to view on demand on abc7chicago.com