The Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic (also known as The Bud Billiken Day Parade) is an annual parade held since 1929 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bud Billiken Day Parade is the largest African-American parade in the United States of America. Held annually on the second Saturday in August, The parade route travels through the Bronzeville and Washington Park neighborhoods on the city's south side. Robert S. Abbott, the founder and publisher of the Chicago Defender, created the fictional character of Bud Billiken, which he featured in as youth advice column in his paper. David Kellum, co-founder of the Bud Billiken Club and longtime parade coordinator suggested the parade as a celebration of African-American life. Since its beginning, the parade has featured celebrities, politicians, businessmen, civic organizations and youth. It is considered the second largest parade in the United States, whose focus is on celebrating youth, education and African-American life. The parade is also cited as the "back-to-school" celebration, marking the end of summer vacation and resuming of school for Chicago's youth.
Bud Billiken is a fictional character created in 1923 by Abbott, who had been considering adding a youth section to the Chicago Defender newspaper. While dining at a Chinese restaurant he noticed a Billiken. Some of the early Billiken columns were written by Willard Motley, who later became a prominent novelist. During the early 1930s, names of international youth were listed in the "Bud Billiken" section of the newspaper every week. Between 1930–34, approximately 10,000 names appeared and were archived in the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library of the Chicago Public Library.