Once again, the team of ABC 7 Eyewitness News Anchors -- Cheryl Burton, newly named co-anchor of ABC 7's top-rated 10 PM newscast, and Jim Rose captured all the fun for viewers watching at home. ABC 7 Anchors Terrell Brown and Karen Jordan were also a part of the festivities, checking out the action along the parade route.
Celebrating this annual tradition were members of the ABC 7 Eyewitness News team including Tanja Babich, Ravi Baichwal, Evelyn Holmes, Leah Hope, along with ABC 7 Windy City LIVE's Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini, who rode 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 was "Back to School | Back to Work |Back to Life | Back to Bud." The 2018 Parade Grand Marshal was Chicago's very own actor/comedian, Deon Cole and Honorary Grand Marshals were Jason Mitchell and Jacob Latimore, cast members from the Showtime series, "The Chi." Singer/Songwriter Syleena Johnson made a special guest appearance in the parade.
The Bud Billiken Parade has the distinction of being the second largest parade in the country with more than 1 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.
Cheryl Burton said, "It's a great feeling to know the Bud Billiken Parade, part of my childhood and family history, is also an important part of my station's broadcast history. As a native Chicagoan, I am Chicago Proud, to co-host again this year with Jim Rose-and to be part of the only TV broadcast of this important Chicago tradition."
According to John Idler, President & General Manager, ABC 7, "Our partnership with the Chicago Defender Charities grows stronger each year and it's an honor to be their station of choice for the parade broadcast. It's gratifying to work together to showcase something that has become near and dear to so many Chicagoans for generations."
"ABC 7's coverage of the Bud Billiken Parade over the years is a cherished partnership. Having the support and enthusiastic cooperation of the ABC 7 team is now part of the legacy of community involvement that we are building here at the Chicago Defender Charities and we look forward to continuing the tradition," said Myiti Sengstacke-Rice, President and CEO of Chicago Defender Charities, Inc. and Bud Billiken Parade Chair.
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 is available on-demand at abc7chicago.com.
Cathy Karp is the producer of ABC 7's Bud Billiken parade broadcast.