President Obama tapped to be Grand Marshal of Bud Billiken parade

June 26, 2012

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(Flickr/kojoman68)

President Barack Obama is scheduled to be the Grand Marshal of the Bud Billiken parade this summer. That is, unless something else comes up last minute. 

Colonel Eugene Scott, chairman of the annual back to school celebration, says scheduling with the White House can be a little tricky. 
 
"They don't use words such as confirm," he said.

Still, Scott said he's "100 percent sure" that the president will lead the parade.  Parade organizers have been keeping things under wraps just in case. 
 
"Obviously we kept a lid on it, primarily to ensure that we had adequate planning and adequate resources and coordination of those resources," Scott said. "But it's out now, and we can't pull it back.
 
Scott says he's been in talks with the White House since last October, and parade organizers have been meeting with federal and city officials about a security plan for the past few months. The parade draws 800,000 to 1.2 million people to the South Side each year, according to Scott. 
 
The parade is considered one of the oldest and largest African-American parades in the United States and is held on the second Saturday in August. This wouldn't be the first time President Obama participated in the Bud Billiken parade. Scott says Obama was the Grand Marshal in 2007. Last year's parade featured Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the artist R Kelly.