Back to school is just around the corner and so is Chicago’s historic Bud Billiken parade.
It’s the largest African American parade in the United States, drawing in nearly 300,000 people and spanning almost 3 miles. That’s according to Chicago Defender Charities.
This year’s theme: parading and peace, block by block, through a partnership with My Block, My Hood, My City.
Chicago Defender Charities President and CEO Myiti Sengstacke-Rice said this year’s grand marshal will be award-winning poet J. Ivy.
One of the main missions of the parade is to prepare students for the new school year.
“Everybody comes together to support our students, to prepare them to go back to school so they get backpacks,” Sengstacke-Rice said. “There’s free haircuts for the boys, free hair braiding for the girls, free school supplies. It’s a family event. There’s going to be entertainment … lots of goodies. The South Side and the West Side are really coming together.”
The parade stretches 2 miles down Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, through the historic Bronzeville neighborhood into Washington Park.
According to Sengstacke-Rice, Mayor Brandon Johnson and Gov. J.B. Pritzker will be in attendance.
The parade will be held Saturday, Aug. 12.