The Bud Billiken® Parade and Picnic is an annual parade and picnic in Chicago, Illinois, and is the oldest and largest African-American parade in the United States. Since 1929, it has always been held the second Saturday in August. The idea for the parade came from Mr. Robert S. Abbott, the founder of the Chicago Defender. The focus of the parade is education and sounds the clarion call for "Back to School" to our children. It is currently the second largest parade in the United States. The 82d Annual Parade took place on August 13, 2011, and was televised on WLS-TV as well as nationally on WGN-TV and viewed by over 25 million viewers. In August 2012, the second Saturday falls on August 11, 2012. The focus on the parade continues to be the betterment of Chicago's youth.
This year's event is scheduled to feature President Barack Obama as Grand Marshal. The parade has categorized contests for participants such as "Best Dance Group" and "Best Marching Band". The parades takes place in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, starting near 39th Street and South Dr. Martin Luther King Drive at the southern border of the Douglas community area, south of the landmark Victory Monument. It continues south to 55th Street at Washington Park. The route covers approximately 2 miles (3.2 km). This route takes the parade through the Grand Boulevard and Washington Park community areas. Please come out and enjoy our annual "back to school" parade and picnic.