Published on Wednesday, 08 August 2012 09:52
This coming August 11th is the second Saturday in August and that means it will be time for the 2012 Bud Billiken Parade, the 83rd year for this traditional Chicago summer event. Much of the excitement will be captured on two separate local television broadcasts.
The Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic began in 1929 and was founded by Robert Sengstacke Abbott, the founder of Chicago Defender newspaper. The parade was originally envisioned as an anti-racism event for youth. It has since become a celebratory parade for youths, encouraging education and self-betterment. It has become a giant "back-to-school" annual tradition in Chicago, taking place on the second Saturday each August. "Bud Billiken" is a fictional character, which was created to symbolize the end of summer and for students to prepare to return to school.
The Bud Billiken Parade, presented by Chicago Defender Charities, is the largest African-American parade in the country and recognized as America's second largest parade overall (second only to Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York).
The 2012 parade kicks off Saturday at 10:00am and goes on for many hours. The approximately two-mile parade route runs through Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, south along Martin Luther King Drive from near 39th to 55th Street at Washington Park, where the event culminates with a large picnic. This year, there are two themes for the parade: "Education: Built To Last" and "A Tribute To President Barack Obama."
This year, as it has been in years past, there will be a few different ways to see the parade. Of course, it can be seen in person for free, as 1.5 million are estimated to be in attendance, lining the streets to see the spectacle. It can also be viewed locally on both WLS-TV/ABC 7 and WCIU-TV/Channel 26 The U, who will each cover the event separately. Both will televise their live coverage of the event in HD from 10:00am-12:30pm.
After 34 consecutive years of airing the Bud Billiken Parade, WGN-TV has elected to not do so this year.* (WGN-TV will be airing a "Dragon Ball Z Kai" marathon and infomercials during this time.)
*UPDATE: A representative for WGN-TV says that it was Central City Productions, the producers of the parade telecast, who decided to move the Bud Billiken Parade away from WGN-TV this year. Also, WGN-TV will continue to support the parade by having a float in it once again. Riding on the WGN-TV float this year will be: Micah Materre, Tom Skilling, Dean Richards, Frank Holland, Tonya Francisco, Gaynor Hall, Muriel Clair, and of course, Bozo the Clown.
Instead of airing on WGN-TV, for the first time ever, WCIU-TV will air their own coverage of the annual Chicago event.
WCIU-TV's live coverage will be hosted by Tamela and David Mann, two of the stars from the syndicated sitcom "Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns," which airs weeknights on the station.
The U will also be participating in the parade itself. Scheduled to be on the WCIU-TV double decker bus will be station personalities Jeanne Sparrow, Kenny McReynolds, and George Blaise. Also on the same bus, waving to the crowds will be Trisha Goddard from "The Trisha Show," which will premiere on WCIU-TV next month, and Steve Wilkos from "The Steve Wilkos Show," which currently airs on WCIU-TV. Wilkos is a Chicago native and a former Chicago Police Department officer.
Chicagoland viewers can find The U over the airwaves on channel 26.1, on satellite via Dish Network or DirecTV on channel 26, or on cable via Comcast XFinity channel 183, RCN HD channel 606, WOW HD channel 207, and AT&T U-verse HD channel 1010.
WLS-TV's live coverage of the parade will hosted by station news anchors Cheryl Burton and Hosea Sanders, and sports anchor Jim Rose. "Windy City Live" co-host Val Warner will serve as the roving reporter along the parade route.
ABC7 will have a colorful float in the parade, as well. Members of the WLS-TV news team will be riding on the float, including Linda Yu, Leah Hope, and Rafer Weigel.
Chicagoland viewers can find WLS-TV over the airwaves on channel 7.1, on satellite via Dish Network or DirecTV on channel 7, or on cable via Comcast XFinity HD channel 187, RCN HD channel 607, WOW HD channel 200, and AT&T U-verse HD channel 1007.
In addition to watching the event on television as it happens, WLS-TV will have their broadcast of the Bud Billiken Parade available to be seen on-demand on their website, ABC7Chicago.com
More information on the annual Bud Billiken Day Parade can be found HERE
Updated with additional information concerning WGN-TV.