Rules for Bud Billiken Parade met with protest

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Organizers of the Bud Billiken Parade held a press conference to address concerns about limits to the number of parade participants. (WLS)

In an effort to set the record straight, organizers of the Bud Billiken Parade held a press conference to address concerns about limits to the number of parade participants.

The event turned chaotic when parade organizers sought to clear the air over restrictions on the number of marchers organizations could have in this year's edition of the Chicago classic.

Multiple people attending the press conference took the podium from parade organizers to voice their opinions.

"Kids work all year for this," said the parent of one child in Dance Floor Chicago.

Their protestations were a sideshow to the broader issue at play -- restricting groups to 100 participants of marchers, supporters and officials -- effectively cutting in half representation from at least two scions of the back-to-school extravaganza.

"Every parade in this city has gone through some kind of modification," said Alderman Pat Dowell.

Billiken has been put on for 87 years by the Chicago Defenders Charities. Parade organizers are undertaking cost-cutting measures for the 2016 parade, including shortening its length. The spectacle typically takes six hours to travel a mile and a half.

The South Shore Drill Team, which has marched in the parade for the last 35 years, said the 100 person limit forces them to choose which of their kids get to march and which sit out. The team instead decided to pull out of the event completely.

"All for one and one for all," said Steven Washington of the South Shore Drill Team. "We all go or none of us go."

Instead of marching in the Bud Billiken Parade, the drill team plans to perform on its own Saturday morning at the Gary Comer Youth Center before marching in another parade in the suburbs.

In the aftermath of the disturbance, organizers made it clear marchers knew of the participation limits when they applied for entry.

"We have been more than accommodating to the drill team and it's disappointing that they didn't reach out to say what their concerns were before deciding to do their own event," said parade organizer Kristal Davis.

The South Shore Drill Team has always had more than 100 participants and have been given a pass in previous years. With the new organizers, the rules are being enforced.
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bud billikenChicago - South ShoreChicago - Bronzeville
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