CHICAGO, August 1, 2007 — WGN-TV and Superstation WGN will broadcast the annual Bud Billiken Day Parade and Picnic presented by Chicago Defender Charities, live from 10am to 12:30pm CST on Saturday, August 11. WGN’s 30th annual broadcast of the five-mile parade kicks off at 39th and King Drive and concludes in Washington Park. Illinois Senator Barack Obama will serve as Grand Marshal of the parade.
WGN News anchor Allison Payne and V103-FM’s Ramonski Luv will host this year’s parade. WGN News weekend anchor Robert Jordan and Trey “the Choklit Jok” from Power 92 will report street-side on the festivities. WGN News anchors and reporters will ride in the parade atop 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 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. Last year, more than 65,000 people participated in the Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic, that featured more than 160 floats and vehicles.
Central City Productions, producer of the “Chicago Defender Charities, Inc. presents the annual Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic”, also produces “Black Enterprise Business Report” and “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.