Bud Billiken Parade highlights Chicago’s youth

August 10, 2012

Jewell Washington

(Chicago Defender Charities)
Chicagoans are celebrating back to school in this year’s 83rd Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic, the second largest parade in the U.S. It kicks off on the city’s south side on Saturday.

Chicagoans are celebrating back to school in this year’s Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic. It kicks off on the city’s south side on Saturday.

The 83rd annual parade is the second largest in the U.S. It features local drill teams and bands on colorful floats, along with celebrities and politicians. President Barack Obama was expected to lead this year’s celebration, but his campaign recently pulled the plug.

Still, Chicago comedian Reggie Reg will be there and he does a pretty good impression of the President:

“First of all let me say…we’re very proud to be here in the city of Chicago”, he said in an Obama-like voice.

Reg said he has been watching the parade since age 10. And that’s the point said drill team leader James Crafton: to inspire young people.

“It’s not just about putting on the makeup, putting on the ponytails and things of that caliber," he said, "it’s actually about teaching each participant life skills."

Reggie Reg said there’s a still a chance Obama might surprise everyone by showing up. Just in case he doesn’t, Reg has been practicing his impression.

“Thank you so very much, God bless and God bless America,” he said.

The parade is produced each year by the Chicago Defender Charities who said its mission is to improve the quality of life for African-Americans through educational, cultural and social programs.