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Bud Billiken Parade encourages children to return to school as fall approaches

Bud Billiken Parade encourages children to return to school
Bud Billiken Parade encourages children to return to school 02:08

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Bud Billiken Parade weekend finally arrived in Chicago. That mystical character was back, rounding up school children to get them and their parents excited about the new school year. 

The parade stopped Saturday amid a few raindrops, but everyone made the best of it. 

Organizers described the parade as the largest African American parade in the country. This year they are putting emphasis on giving out free school supplies as parents prepare their students to head back to class.

The 2.5 mile Bud Billiken parade celebration brough out thousands of people, stretching from Pershing Road in Bronzeville and ending a Washington Park. 

The parade has been around for nearly 100 years. 

Supt. David Brown expected more than 100,000 people to attend the parade, which has been a family tradition for many like Samantha House. 

"We really just enjoy, get the children excited about going back to school and it definitely helps when you get some free school supplies along the way," said House. 

Washington Park was filled with sponsors passing out free school supplies and backpacks.

"I really like the fact that here, they were giving out supplies as well. I thought that was really really good because our people need that help because it is overwhelming in many cases. All they need to do is go back to school," said Akhibi. 

Mary Baldwin says she picked up school supplies for her grandchildren.

"This is very helpful, you know, because times are hard now and they mother's and them don't have jobs. So I help them out as much as I can," she said. 

Since the inflation has hit back to shcool shoppers, parents say Saturday's event has helped take some of the load off.

"It's very helpful," said House. "Just last minute things that we may have forgotten to get. The backpacks have been very helpful."

"They need headphones, mouses, napkins. It's expensive. Its a lot of stuff they need," said Akhibi.

CPS students will be heading back to school in a couple of weeks, on Aug. 22. 

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