CHICAGO (CBS) — “Back to school, back to life, and back to Bud Billiken” – that was the theme of this year’s famed Bud Billiken Parade on the South Side, which returned this year after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported, the day as usual started with a parade down Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and ended with a festival in Washington Park. Chicago Sky star Candace Parker served as the Grand Marshal.

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“For the community, it’s huge – for our youth, for our elders,” said Jamaal Gill, head boys’ basketball coach at Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts, 555 E. 51st St.

The 92nd back-to-school parade spanned across 10 blocks – welcomed by those who said they’ve never missed one.

“The history of Bronzeville, the history of Dyett – when people think about Bud Billiken you think about Chicago,” said Dyett High School dean and coach Darrell Bullock.

With the help of at least 80 different organizations, businesses, and vendors across the city, roughly 2,000 kids tumbled and marched through the parade.

The group included the athletes at Dyett High School, who said the energy Saturday was unmatched.

“I walked in the parade,” said Dyett junior Dmyrion Sanderson.

“I smiled and waved at people at the Bud,” said Dyett junior Zenaiya Fairley.

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“My favorite thing was watching everyone come out and support the parade,” said Dyett senior Davarius Vinson. “That hasn’t been around in like two years.”

“I just enjoyed everyone’s energy,” said Dyett sophomore Terrance Weatherspoon.

“It felt extravagant,” added Fairley. “Everyone was just happy and waving at people.”

In some ways, it was a Bud Billiken Parade like any other. But organizers did urge attendees to come with a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination. There was also a vaccination tent set up at the end of the parade.

“So this is considered the Cook County mobile pop-up vaccination clinic,” said Crystal L. Winston of Cook County Health. “Our goal is to bring vaccinations into the community, and what we know is some of the barriers to vaccination is access.”

For Cook County Health, even one person walking in is a success.

“Considering the vaccine demand has gone way down, to see one person come through can make an enormous difference,” said Dr. Rachel Rubin, senior medical officer at Cook County Health. “If you think about it, one person can infect many others.”

The festival wrapped up late Saturday afternoon. In all, at least half a dozen people were vaccinated – including one student heading back to school.

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The first Bud Billiken Parade was held in 1929. It is the largest African American parade in the United States.