Bud Billiken Parade returns for 92nd year after pandemic hiatus

The 92nd annual Bud Billiken Parade was back and better than ever this year.

While it was scaled down because of the pandemic, the twirls, tumbles and drill teams were in full force.

The drill teams, the drummers and the marching bands. After a year off, the 92-year tradition of Bud Billiken was back.


"I know we've been through COVID but this parade is awesome," spectator Cathy Walker Murray said.

Saturday's parade and picnic were scaled down because of a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Rapid COVID-19 testing was available along the parade route along with on-site vaccinations.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke before the parade.

"I think it demonstrates that we can gather safely and peacefully and celebrate," Lightfoot said.

The mayor hit the parade route immediately afterward along with Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Lieutenant Gov. Juliana Stratton.

The usual 250 parade entrants were scaled down to 125 to allow for social distancing.

The famous FOX 32 News truck made the cut, driven by photojournalist Ed Flynn.

The parade celebrates the start of Chicago Public Schools, which will be in-person, 5 days a week this year. The first day is August 30.