CHICAGO, August 4, 2008 –WGN-TV and WGN America will broadcast the annual Bud Billiken Parade, presented by Chicago Defender Charities, live from 10am to 12:30pm CT on Saturday, August 9. WGN’s 31st annual broadcast of the five-mile parade kicks off at 39th and King Drive and concludes in Washington Park on Chicago’s South Side.
WGN News anchor Allison Payne and comedian Steve Harvey will host this year’s parade. WGN Morning News anchor Valerie Warner and V103 Radio’s Ramonski Luv will serve as street reporters. WGN News talent Mark Suppelsa, Tom Skilling, Bob Jordan, Dean Richards, Muriel Clair, Antwan Lewis, and Chicago’s favorite clown Bozo will appear on the WGN-TV float.
Started in 1929, Chicago Defender founder Robert Sengstacke Abbott originally envisioned the parade as a means to include youth in his work to combat racism. The parade is named after the Billiken, a Chinese mythical character who is the guardian angel of little children. “Bud Billiken” grew from this character and inspired what has become a celebratory parade of youths, featuring high school drill teams, marching bands, and the Bud Billiken Parade King and Queen. It is the largest African-American parade in the country, the largest parade in Chicago and the nation’s second largest parade after the Rose Bowl Parade.
Central City Productions, producer of the “Chicago Defender Charities, Inc. presents the annual Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic,” also produces the “Stellar Gospel Music Awards.” Founded in 1970 by Don Jackson, Central City Productions is Chicago’s oldest African-American owned-and-operated television production company.