Hosea Sanders returned as co-host again this year, capturing all the fun for viewers watching at home along with the Bud Billiken broadcast team, fellow co-hosts Cheryl Burton and Jim Rose. ABC 7 anchors Terrell Brown and Karen Jordan were also be a part of the festivities, checking out the action along the parade route.
Sanders said, "This year's celebration is even more meaningful for me. It's a chance to personally show my appreciation to the many Chicagoans who've wished me well as I recover from prostate cancer surgery. I'm so grateful for the support!"
"We are Chicago Proud to showcase such an important and uplifting community event and especially thrilled that Hosea Sanders, the face of our Bud Billiken broadcast for more than two decades, will be able to co-host again this year. ABC 7's longtime commitment to this exclusive partnership with the Chicago Defender Charities brings the celebration to all Chicagoans," said John Idler, President and General Manager, ABC 7 Chicago.
According to Chez Smith, SVP of Operations and Parade Coordinator, "The Bud Billiken parade is excited to celebrate 88 years of history, bringing the community together and celebrating the beginning of the school year. We have exciting new changes and so many new participants ready to amaze the crowd. Our partnership with ABC 7 allows the parade to reach thousands of television viewers whom we look forward to entertaining each year."
Also participating in the annual tradition will be members of the ABC 7 Eyewitness News team including Ravi Baichwal, Leah Hope, with ABC 7 Windy City LIVE's Val Warner, Ryan Chiaverini and Ji Suk Yi who will ride atop the station's colorful float.
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.
The theme for this year's parade is "Honoring our Hometown Heroes." The 2017 parade Grand Marshal was Chicago native and popular artist, Chance the Rapper, who stole the show at the Grammys when he won three awards.
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.
The Chicago Defender Charities produces the Bud Billiken Parade; ABC 7 is a sponsor and produces the parade broadcast.
ABC 7 Eyewitness News Anchor Cheryl Burton said, "I'm so proud of the fact that my station, ABC 7, is the only TV station airing this wonderful community event, which is so dear to so many. As a native Chicagoan, I know how important the Bud Billiken Parade is to the community since it was always part of our family tradition growing up."
"Summer fun and the Bud Billiken Parade are synonymous," 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 and it's always great to be a part of this broadcast."
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 be available on-demand at abc7chicago.com after the broadcast.
Rubye Wilson is the producer of ABC 7's Bud Billiken parade broadcast.