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BRONZEVILLE — Chicagoans flocked to King Drive on Saturday for the much-anticipated return of the Bud Billiken Parade, which was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Smiles and cheers filled the parade route as elected officials, dance troupes, local unions and more marched through the South Side neighborhood on the perfect summer day.
The annual back-to-school event typically attracts close to 500,000 people every summer. With the availability of vaccines and students preparing to return to the classroom this fall, parade organizers brought it back, but with safety precautions.
Organizers shrunk the footprint of the parade staging area and cut the number of entrants from 250 to 125, said Myiti Sengstacke-Rice, president of the Sengstacke Foundation, which organizes the parade.
But the shorter parade didn’t dampen the enthusiasm. Check out the photos:
"The goal is to prevent people from going to the emergency room unnecessarily. We know what happens with our people: They're in a mental health crisis and they end up in jail," said Carolyn Vessel, CEO of I AM ABLE.