The Chicago Defender Charities Bud Billiken™ Parade

Basic Information About This Great Event!


Purpose:         To showcase talented youth and herald in the new school year. 

Theme:           "Back to School Back to Work"

Producers:     Chicago Defender Charities, Inc.

Event date:    Saturday, August 11, 2018

Start time:     10:00 AM

Start point:    King Drive at Oakwood Blvd.

Route:            King Drive south from Oakwood Boulevard to 51st Street. Elsworth Drive (in Washington Park) from 51st Street to Garfield Boulevard (55th St.).

End point:     Garfield Blvd. (55th St.) and Elsworth Dr.


Activities following the parade: Located in Washington Park southeast of 51st and King Dr. with free giveaways and other treats.

TV coverage: WLS-TV Channel 7 live from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Parade founder:  Robert Sengstacke Abbott, also founder of the Chicago Defender

Year of the 1st parade: 1929

Who is Bud Billiken?: It is an idea that was the brainchild of Robert Sengstacke Abbott to symbolize the best for children. It is named after the Billiken, the guardian angel of all children according to the Chinese legend.

Bud Billiken™ Parade Application

Deadline March 30, 2018 3pm

Application Fee: All parade applications have a $50 (Non-Refundable) administration fee.

If you are applying for a vehicle, your application fee will be applied to your entry fee if accepted.

Incomplete Forms will not be processed

Fill out my online form.


Corporate and Elected Officials

please contact the office. 773-536-3710

2018 Bud Billiken™ Parade FAQs


QUESTION: Can I apply in person or mail in my application?


ANSWER: No. All applications must be submitted online through our website.


QUESTION: Should I pay my fees at the time I submit my application?


ANSWER: Yes, the application fee has to be paid at time of submission. Fees for vehicle entries will be assessed after they are accepted. Your application fee will be applied toward your vehicle entry fee. 


QUESTION: How will I know if I have been accepted or not to participate in the Parade?


ANSWER: You will receive an email from us informing you of our decision.


QUESTION: When will I know if I have been accepted or not to participate in the Parade?


ANSWER: No later than Monday, April 16, 2018.


QUESTION: Why an application process and not just registration like it always has been?


ANSWER: The application process allows us to have better control over the Parade which is needed at this time.


QUESTION: I have been participating in the Bud for many years. Won’t this guarantee me a spot in the parade?


ANSWER: No it will not. Many factors are used to determine an individual or groups participation in the Bud Billiken® Parade. For example, given the limit on the number of units, we have to seriously consider a unit that may not have extensively participated in the Parade and yet is otherwise worthy of participation.


QUESTION: If I miss the application deadline, can I get an extension?


ANSWER: No because we have to be fair to everyone.


QUESTION: Is there an appeal process if my application is denied?


ANSWER: No. The decision is final


QUESTION: Once I'm accepted, where can I go to rent a Float?


ANSWER: Bud Billiken™ Parade approved float providers are ABC Floats and Associated Attractions. You can contact them directly to get rates. 

Check our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for updates and other Parade related information.