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.
The Chicago Defender Charities was founded in 1945 as the charities arm of the Chicago Defender. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for African Americans through educational, cultural and social programs. Its primary mission is to produce the Bud Billiken ® Parade. Robert Sengstacke Abbott, the late founder of the Chicago Defender, started the parade in 1929. It is the second largest parade in the United States, and an institution in the Chicago African American community with participation from across generations, and across the country. A recent addition to the Charities is the Scholarship Program. Since its inception in 2003, a total of 59 students have received 1.2 million dollars in scholarships. Institutions attended by the selected students include Howard, Hampton, Chicago State, Boston College, University of Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, University of Illinois, and Northern Illinois University, to name a few. Another recent addition to the Charities is the Bronzeville Veterans Day Parade. This parade began in 1926 with the Charities accepting primary responsibility for the parade in 2008. Taking place on Chicago's south side, 15 to 20 units participate, celebrating contributions of African Americans to our nation's military. A traditional program of the Charities is its annual Christmas food giveaway. Recently, in cooperation with the Feed, Clothe and Help the Needy program, the Charities has coordinated food and toy donations with funding from sponsors. Another recent addition to the Charities is the Green Team. Consisting of teenagers from underserved Chicago area high schools, the team involves youth in sustainability programs, including recycling, urban farming and summer employment. The Chicago Defender Charities has established a tradition of serving the people. Today, the monumental task of leading the Charities falls into the capable hands of Retired U.S. Army Col. Eugene F. Scott, President of the Chicago Defender Charities. He continues a tradition established by past leadership of the late John H. Sengstacke, former Charities President and Chicago Defender Publisher, the late Dr. Marjorie Stewart Joyner, former Charities President, and the late Frederick D. Sengstacke, former Charities President and Chicago Defender Publisher.
Registration for the 2012 Bud Billiken Parade is now closed! Thank you to all of those that registered to participate in this year's parade! Please remember to read the Rules of Governance, Float Instructions, Marching Unit Instructions, and Parade Line-Up Instructions.
Address: 700 E. Oakwood Blvd,
5th Floor, Chicago IL, 60653
Office Phone: (773) 536-3710
Office Fax: (773) 536-5140
Col. Eugene F. Scott, US Army – Retired
Corporate and Small Business
Willie Wright, (312) 933-3492
Dr. Marc A. Sengstacke