CHICAGO — The Bud Billiken Parade returns to Chicago for its 94th year to kick off a new school year, celebrating African American culture and the talents of the youth.

This year’s theme is ‘Parading in Peace Block by Block, sending positive vibes to youth going back to school.

Founder of the Chicago Defender, Robert Sengstacke Abbott created the parade in 1924 which simply started as a picnic, then turned to festival in 1929.

Generations of families lined the streets to watch marching bands, tumblers and the beloved South Shore drill team. Grammy winner and Chicago native J. Ivy will serve as Grand Marshal.

‘Bud Billiken’ stands as a fictious character, or mascot of the Chicago Defender, made to protect and inspire the youth. The parade has now become the nation’s second largest next to the Rose Parade.

The three-mile-long parade kicked off Saturday morning and ends with a festival and picnic in Washington Park.

For more information visit: Who Are We — Bud Billiken Parade