Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back to School with Bud.

Mel: "Leif, who exactly is Bud Billiken?"
Leif (after some thought) decided: "Bud Billiken is a fictitious Chinese Fairy Clown Educator."
Later in the day someone told me Bud Billiken was an "angel sent to protect children and their future" and inspired the creation of the annual back to school parade on the south side of Chicago. Even though her words made it pretty clear why this little character had become synonymous with the largest back to school parade of it's kind in the country, I liked Leif's description better and when I shared it with the woman I was speaking with she pretty much did too!
Irrespective of what Bud really is, the Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic is quite a spectacle! The parade, started in 1929, celebrated it's 81st year this morning. More than 25 million households watched the 75,000 parade participants walk the route on television and 1.5 million fans lined Michigan Blvd.
The University of Chicago Hospitals always plays a big role in the festivities and this morning the kids and I marched with Leif representing the Urban Health Initiative. It is always fun to see Leif at work and he and his team were more than successful when it came to pulling off the medical center's part of this major event! They handled hospital VIP's with grace, organized not one, but two breakfasts, made sure a couple hundred walkers made it to the start point in matching shirts, and had to watch over a float, a band, and a mobile Medical Care Unit before serving a picnic lunch in the park! Phew.

(It was a big highlight to have Leif's friend Rahol and his band Funkadesi perform on the medical center float)
The Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic was a HOT and memorable way t0 start the day!

1 comment:

Mary said...

I never knew bud wasn't a real person...I guess you do learn something new everyday...looks like fun

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