City officials today said the Bud Billiken Parade on Saturday is only one of many events that will draw crowds and affect traffic in Chicago this weekend.
The city's traditional back-to-school parade and picnic is expected to draw up to 500,000 people to the South Side when it steps off at 10 a.m. Saturday, according to a release from the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
The parade, which began in 1929,is described as described as "the oldest and largest African American parade in the United States" on the parade website. The website also said that it is the second largest annual parade in the nation.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is the grand marshal of this year's event.
The parade starts south on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive from Oakwood Boulevard to 51st Street, east on 51st to Ellsworth Drive in Washington Park, and then south on Ellsworth to Morgan and Payne Drives.
Weather is expected to be in the high 70s with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms, so attendees should dress accordingly and be prepared to take shelter from possible lightning, according to the OEMC. Cooling stations and first aid stations will be located along the parade route.
Sporting events this weekend also will affect getting around, with the Bears playing their first preseason game Saturday at 7 p.m. at Soldier Field and the White Sox hosting the Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field.
On Sunday at 6:30 a.m., the 2011 XSport Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon begins in Grant Park, and street closures on Columbus Drive from Congress to Randolph Drives will begin as early as Saturday night.
The race will attract as many as 25,000 runners through 11 Chicago neighborhoods, including Greek Town, River North and the Gold Coast.
Also this weekend is one of the larger street fairs of the season, the Northalsted Market Days event on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The street fair, expected to draw as many as 100,000 over the two days, will close off North Halsted Street from Belmont Avenue to Addison Street.
The OEMC reminds everyone to watch out for traffic delays and road closures, and whenever possible use public transportation.