Bud Billiken Parade: Largest African American parade in US returns to South Side

ByDiane Pathieu and Christian Piekos WLS logo
Saturday, August 13, 2022
Bud Billiken Parade: Largest African American parade in US returns to South Side
EMBED <>More Videos

The South Side Bud Billiken Parade is a two-and-a-half-mile Chicago celebration that dates back to 1929.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The party continues Saturday evening at Washington Park, hours after the 93rd Bud Billiken Parade wrapped up earlier in the day

Family and friends are together, grilling out and enjoying some music in the park.

The parade is all part of a tradition that's passed down from generation to generation, dating back to 1929.

RELATED: Looking back on the history of the Bud Billiken Parade

Bands march to the beat, chicken sizzles on the grill and rifles are expertly tossed in the air.

"This has been going on for many years, since I was a kid," said parade attendee Shaneka Bowman.

The Bud Billiken Parade returned in all its glory, with thousands of people lining the route.

WATCH: Chicago Defender Charities joins ABC7 to discuss the return of Bud Billiken Parade

Thomas Yancee said his family has been coming to the parade for decades.

"I got out here, like I said, since 7 o'clock this morning and they call us the chicken family," he said. "We got chicken wings, chicken legs, chicken breasts, chicken thighs."

The 2.5-mile-long celebration is the largest African-American parade in the country and celebrates the return of the school year.

RELATED: Art on theMART 2022 featuring Bud Billiken parade artists

It was scaled back last year because of the pandemic.

"To get it back together, especially for something like this, is beautiful," Yancey said.

"To be outside is, like, really good, like, to even be around," Shaneka added.

The Bowman family enjoyed watching the parade together

"I've been coming out here when my kids were 6 years old, now they're 40," said Brenda Bowman.

Upholding tradition is one of the main reasons people have returned to this celebration on the South Side year after year.

Helicopters also hovered above as police officers patrolled the route below, with security being a top concern this year following the Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park.

However, the heightened measures didn't hamper the parade's energy.

To me, it just kind of means bringing the community together to watch everyone dance, perform and give it their all," said parade attendee Jada Jones.

The parade's theme this year was Bud Billiken 365, which celebrates the importance of education every day of the year.