Editor’s Note: As summer rapidly fades into fall, we commissioned Senior Correspondent Jacqueline Thompson to write about one of Chicago’s favorite summer events, the Bud Billiken Parade. Read below and plan to attend the parade next year.

The Big Bold Bad Bud Billiken Parade did it again. Eighty two years young, it is still exciting and still evolving each second Saturday in August in Chicago. For all these many years, the parade has proven to be THE event of the summer. All other shows and programs are planned around this day. The whole city – South Side, West Side and North Side – contributes school marching bands, dazzling floats and municipal partners such as the Fire Department and the Chicago Police Department. This year, of all things, a group of firemen did an expert line dance. They were very well received and applauded.

South Shore Drill Team Steppers at the Bud Biliken Parade in August 2009. RJ archived photo by Mary C. Piemonte

Without a doubt, the children steppers, marchers, twirlers, dancers and float riders always please. Yet this year, there were younger and younger majorettes and twirlers, stepping and stealing the show. There was more evidence of adult involvement in training youngsters to become skilled musicians, marchers and steppers. There were more children in certain group parade favorites: For instance, the South Shore Drill Team had a great many additional prancers. Read more »

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