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What's New

Watch for new floats designed by Chicago Public School students from UPLIFT Community High School and Curie Metropolitan High School in partnership with BMO Harris Bank and T-Mobile. Championed by BMO Harris Bank, this new partnership with Chicago Public Schools’ Department of STEM and the Department of Arts Education was created to bring a real-world work-based STEAM design challenge to the students. The floats, built by Mardi Gras-float builders New Orleans-based Kern Studios, are debuting live in the parade.

Also new this year to the parade route is the balloon debut of Bumble, the Abominable Snowman (from 1964 TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) sponsored by Special Olympics Illinois and four high school marching bands from Ohio.

Read more about our featured talent below, including live musical performances and special appearances!

2021 Musical Talent and Special Appearances

  • Kool & the Gang

    Kool & the Gang, officially launched in 1969, after performing for five years under various band titles, has influenced the music of three generations and, at the age of 49, the band has become true recording industry legends. Thanks to iconic songs like Celebration, Cherish, Jungle Boogie, Summer Madness and Open Sesame, they’ve earned two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, 9 Top Ten Pop hits and 31 gold and platinum albums. From Nairobi to Newark, Kool & the Gang has performed continuously longer than any R&B group in history and their bulletproof funk and jazzy arrangements have also made them the most sampled R&B band of all time. A reviewer recently called their performance “a 24-karat show” and every year, even after a half-century on the road, yields a non-stop schedule of shows across the globe. The heavily-in-demand band has continued to tour the world, appearing most recently alongside Kid Rock, Dave Matthews Band, Elton John, The Roots and a 50-city tour with the legendary rock band, Van Halen.

  • Tag Team

    Recently featured in the fun Auto Insurance Commercial for Geico the 90s classic Reel School HIP HOP  due TAG TEAM is back on TOP. Bursting onto the scene with their TOP OF THE POPS hit and automatically became one of those songs that stick in your head. “Whoomp! (There It Is).” The track quickly climbed to #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B charts in just 14 days. The song continues to appeal to admirers who were raised in the ‘90s and appeals to new enthusiasts of every era as it is recognised as a true symbol of the time. “Whoomp! (There It Is)” has been showcased in world-class nationwide ad campaigns as well as in Hollywood hit motion pictures and television series


  • Grace Kinstler

    Grace Kinstler is a 21 year old award winning Singer/Songwriter based in Los Angeles. After placing 3rd on this past season of American Idol Grace began her journey as a professional artist, having been hired to perform all across the country at various festivals and events including Miss America New York, the grand opening of the Sable Hotel at Navy pier in Chicago, and numerous Chicago Bulls and White Sox games. She has released 2 EP’s on all streaming platforms and will be releasing more original music in early 2022

  • Willie Spence

    Willie Spence has been singing from a young age.  Having grown up in church singing praise and worship music, he often led the vocal section of the praise team.  As a teenager he joined the 4H State Choir and was chosen to sing lead at the National Gala in Washington DC.   His professional career was launched when he joined ABC’s American Idol’s 2021 season and was voted first runner-up.  Willie continues to sing professionally with songwriters and producers at various events all over the country. Stay tuned for his upcoming new music release.


  • Bebe Wood

    Bebe Wood stars in Hulu’s series “Love, Victor,” the celebrated and critically praised spinoff series from the film Love, Simon, which has been picked up for a third season. Bebe is best known for her roles as 'Shania’ on NBC’s “The New Normal” and 'Shannon’ on ABC’s “The Real O'Neals.” She has also voiced characters in the animated series “Trollhunters” and “3 Below: Tales of Arcadia.” She auditioned for “The New Normal” via tape while based in NYC, got the role, and moved to Los Angeles to shoot the pilot. Bebe Wood also recently released her debut EP "21st Century Hippie," crooning "Santa Baby."


  • Deborah Cox

    Deborah Cox is a Grammy-nominated recording artist and a world-renowned talent across the worlds of music, Broadway, television, film, and fashion. With a career spanning more than two decades, Deborah has released six critically-acclaimed career albums including her debut album, Deborah Cox (1995), One Wish (1998), The Morning After (2002), Remixed (2003), Destination Moon (2007), and The Promise (2008). An established songstress, Cox has scaled the R&B and pop charts with six top 20 Billboard magazine R&B singles and thirteen No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play Chart. In addition to her illustrious musical catalog, the Canadian-born star has been recognized and awarded for her undying commitment to various social justice initiatives, including advocacy for LGBTQ2S+ rights, support for those living with HIV/AIDS, and the fight for Human Rights and Equality for all. In 2020, Deborah was honored with Black Music Honors’ Entertainer Icon Award in recognition of her 25 ground-breaking years in the music industry. In celebration of this milestone, Deborah has been expanding her identity as an artist, actress, creator and was appointed Executive Director for Alpha Magazines, a publication that strives to empower men and women worldwide. She is currently winning rave reviews for her role as Regina on BET’s “First Wives Club” and will be starring in the highly-anticipated HBO MAX series “Station Eleven” premiering December 2021. Following the success of her hit single “Easy Way”, Deborah also has new music on the way and is working toward the release of her seventh career studio album due later this year.

  • Disney Princess - The Concert

    Disney Princess - The Concert is a sparkling new, 80+ city, US tour celebrating the Disney Princess music that has enchanted audiences for generations! The production is led by an all-star quartet of Broadway and animated film icons: Tony® and Drama Desk®-nominee Susan Egan, Broadway’s original ‘Belle’ in Beauty and the Beast and voice of ‘Meg’ in Hercules; Drama Desk®-nominee Christy Altomare, Broadway’s original ‘Anya’ in Anastasia; Grammy®-nominee Courtney Reed, Broadway’s original ‘Princess Jasmine’ in Aladdin; and Broadway World Award-winner Syndee Winters, Broadway’s ‘Nala’ in The Lion King. Celebrated music director, Benjamin Rauhala, rounds out the cast for this unforgettable evening of animation and songs from every Disney Princess, including: “Part Of Your World,” “Colors of the Wind,” “How Far I’ll Go,” “A Whole New World,” “Let It Go,” and more! Disney Princess - The Concert kicks off February 1, 2022 and runs throughout the year. Give the gift of magic this holiday season with tickets to a show near you! For all dates and details, visitwww.disneyprincessconcert.com.

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