Best time to go to Chicago

Bud Billiken Parade 2024

The largest African American parade in the United States

Dates: August 10, 2024

Bud Billiken Parade
Bud Billiken Parade
Bud Billiken Parade
Bud Billiken Parade
Bud Billiken Parade

The Bud Billiken Parade is one of the most massive annual events in Chicago, Illinois, and the largest African American parade in the USA, with over 500,000 attendees every year. This event is more than just a parade of bands and floats moving along King Drive; it's a tribute to history and a revelry in the potential ahead.

Parade Program

There are dozens of marching and dancing groups and colorful floats. The event features contests in categories like Best Float and Best Dance Team. The marching bands, dance groups, drill teams, and tumblers from all over Chicago and beyond participate in this parade. But in addition to exceptional music, dance, food, and fun, the parade is a tribute to the historical roots of the African American community on the South Side of Chicago.

Bud Billiken Parade attracts many celebrities, politicians, beauty queens, musicians, and actors. Past participants included U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Joe Louis, Duke Ellington, Oprah Winfrey, Diana Ross, Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Paul Robeson, Chaka Khan and Billie Holiday.

Dates and Location

Held every year on the second Saturday in August, the parade goes along Dr. Martin Luther King Drive (East 35th-55th Streets), then through Bronzeville and Grand Boulevard, finishing in historic Washington Park with a large picnic and a festival, talent performances, and various educational and family-friendly activities

Bud Billiken Parade Route

The parade route stretches 2 miles (3 km) throughout the historical "Bronzeville" neighborhood.

Bud Billiken Parade History

The parade was named after Bud Billiken, a fictional character created by Robert S. Abbott, the founder of the Chicago Defender, in 1923 to inspire local black youth and fill them with pride and hope for a better future. Robert C. Abbott was the publisher of the Chicago Defender, one of the most prominent African-American newspapers of the time in the United States.

The first Bud Billiken Parade took place in 1929 as a celebration of youth, education, and African-American heritage. Held in mid-August, the event also marked the end of summer vacations and the resumption of school for children and youth. Over the years, the Bud Billiken Parade has grown into one of the country's largest and most significant African American parades. The Bud Billiken Parade's goal is to celebrate and popularize African-American culture while promoting education and empowerment, and Chicago Defender Newspaper's legacy is the foundation for this mission.

Find hotels and airbnbs near Bud Billiken Parade (Map)

Last updated: