CHICAGO (WLS) -- Considered by many to be the unofficial end of summer, the 89th Bud Billiken Parade steps off Saturday in Bronzeville.
The Bud Billiken Parade is the largest African American parade in the country, and it celebrates the community, gets kids excited to go back to school, and pays homage to the luminaries of the past.
Aurea France said she has attended the parade for most of her life.
"That's just one of the amazing things we have to offer, is just the diversity in the parade," France said. "So, it's an accomplishment. I'm proud of our city."
Preparations were underway in Washington Park Friday as tents and risers went up in front of the Chicago Defender building. The Bud Billiken character was first created in a Defender column.
"What we want to do is carry on the legacy of our founder, which is also my grandfather, who founded Chicago Defender Charities," said Chicago Defender Charities CEO Myiti Sengstacke-Rice.
Sengstacke-Rice is the fourth generation of the family that founded the parade.
"Everybody loves it so much. And it inspires so many people, it touches so many lives, that's why it's been able to be around almost 90 years," Sengstacke-Rice said. "It's because of everyone that comes together and that's what makes it so special."
The parade route begins at King Drive and Oakwood Boulevard, continues south on King to 51st before it pivots into Washington Park and ends at Garfield and Ellsworth.
Bud Billiken Parade to step off Saturday