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Bud Billiken Parade, Other Events To Make For Busy Weekend

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Bud Billiken Parade Setup

Setup for the Bud Billiken Parade in Washington Park. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 08/12/11 1 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — This coming weekend will be one of the busiest of the summer, with the Bud Billiken Parade and a host of other events.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Felicia Middlebrooks reports, there’s something for everyone.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Felicia Middlebrooks reports


The biggest event this weekend is the 82nd annual Bud Billiken Parade. The second largest parade in the nation will draw an estimated 500,000 people Saturday morning, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The parade steps off at 10 a.m. Saturday, and proceeds south on King Drive from Oakwood Boulevard to 51st Street, east on 51st Street to Ellsworth Drive in Washington Park, and south on Ellsworth Drive to the junction with Morgan and Payne drives. Those busy roads, of course, will be closed to traffic.

New to the parade this year is a gospel festival. The music will ring out beginning at noon along 51st Street between Cottage Grove and St. Lawrence avenues in Washington Park.

Among the many performers set to appear are Walt Whitman and the Soul Children of Chicago, who just returned from a tour of Sweden; West Side natives the Brown Sisters; and the Nichols Sisters, who are relatives of Jennifer Hudson, the Chicago Defender reported.

Bud Billiken Parade Chairman Col. Gene Scott and told WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser that the theme of the parade has always been education, and that continues to be true.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports


“The primary theme is education, and we want to support the Chicago Public Schools’ effort and initiative to get these people back in school. But it’s always about education,” he said.

But there are other underlying themes, said Scott’s wife, Beverly, who serves as director of the parade’s Sustainable Futures program. The theme this year is “Now More Than Ever,” she said.

“There are a couple of themes that are running under the education now more than ever – one is faith and family, so that’s connected to us bringing the gospel concert back to the South Side, where gospel had its origins,” she said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is grand marshal of the parade this year, and the Scotts say he will be having some barbecue along the route.

The Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic dates back to 1929, as a means for Defender founder Robert Sengstacke Abbott to honor the youth who delivered the newspaper.

Also this weekend, the Bears take on the Buffalo Bills in their first pre-season game at Soldier Field. The game kicks off at 7 p.m., and CBS 2’s David Morrison warns that Lake Shore Drive will likely be tied up as fans pour in.

At the same time, the White Sox are hosting the Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field

On Sunday, expect to see closures in Grant Park and elsewhere around downtown, as the 2011 XSport Fitness Rock ’n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon begins in Grant Park.

The 13.1-mile course for the half marathon runs through Streeterville, the Loop, Greektown, the Near West Side, the South Loop and Bronzeville. Columbus Drive will be closed between Balbo and Monroe drives from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, as will Congress Parkway from Michigan Avenue to Columbus Drive.

Beginning at 6 a.m. and ending between 7:45 and 11:15 a.m., pats of several other major city thoroughfares will also close for the race, as will several exits on Lake Shore Drive. For a list, click here. http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/files/2011/03/chi11-road-closure-grid.pdf

A jog to the north, 100,000 people are expected in Boystown on Saturday and Sunday for the Northalsted Market Days street fair. This year, the fair will include performances by Lisa Lisa, Gloria Gaynor, and Darren Criss, among other musical acts. Four stages will be set up.

To accommodate Market Days, which is billed as the largest two-day street fair in the Midwest, Halsted Street will be closed between Addison Street and Belmont Avenue.

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