INDIANAPOLIS (May 22, 2012) – The IPL 500 Festival Parade, scheduled for Saturday, May 26 at noon in downtown Indianapolis, will once again feature a diverse line-up of celebrities. The 500 Festival announced today that in addition to previously announced celebrities actress and singer Olivia Newton-John as Parade Grand Marshal, Gladys Knight as a Legendary Honoree and Jana Kramer as the Parade’s opening entertainment, Guy Fieri, Maria Menounos, Rick Springfield, Eddie Money, Chuck Pagano, Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr., the Indiana Pacemates, Florence Henderson, Captain Keith Colburn, Dave Hester and Smurfette and Clumsy characters, are among the celebrities and VIP’s to be scheduled to participate in this year’s celebration. Also appearing will be the 33 starting drivers of the 2012 Indianapolis 500®, as well legendary Indianapolis 500® winners Mario Andretti and Johnny Rutherford.
Guy Fieri is a restaurateur, best-selling author and host of the Food Network’s hit show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” Fieri will drive the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Pace Car to lead the field of 33 drivers to start the 2012 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Maria Menounos is an actress, author and the host of TV’s Extra. At 22, she became the youngest person to host Entertainment Tonight and would later report for Today, Dateline and Nightly News. In 2008, she conducted the only interview with the Obama family during the presidential campaign. Maria is the New York Times bestselling author of the self-help book, The EveryGirl’s Guide to Life.
Rick Springfield will also be part of the 2012 IPL 500 Festival Parade. With a career spanning more than three decades, Springfield has sold more than 19 million albums including five Top 10 and 17 Top 40 hits. He earned a Grammy for “Best Male Rock Vocal Performance” for “Jessie’s Girl” in 1982. He is also known for his role as Dr. Noah Drake on the popular daytime drama General Hospital.
Eddie Money is an American rock guitarist, saxophonist and singer-songwriter who has had numerous Top 40 hits including “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Walk on Water,” “Take Me Home Tonight” and more.
Chuck Pagano will enter his first season with the Indianapolis Colts and 11th year in the NFL after being named head coach in January 2012. Pagano brings a wealth of coaching experience, totaling 28 years in the professional and collegiate ranks. Prior to joining the Colts, Pagano spent four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and the last (2011) as the team’s defensive coordinator.
Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr. will serve as the featured speaker at the 500 Festival Memorial Service, presented by Rolls-Royce on May 25. Winnefeld will also participate in this year’s Parade festivities. He is currently the ninth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and is the nation’s second highest-ranking military officer. Most recently, he served as the commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.
The Indiana Pacemates, are the official dance squad of the Indiana Pacers. Originally known as the Marathon Scoreboard Girls and then the Paul Harris Pacerettes in the ABA, the squad presented fashion shows during selected timeouts and halftimes. After several years, the squad evolved into an entertainment entity of the franchise during the 1972-73 season and become known as the Indiana Pacemates. They were heralded as the first professional dance/cheerleading squad in the NBA when the Pacers joined the league in 1976.
Florence Henderson is an actress and singer best known for playing the role of Carol Brady in the television program The Brady Bunch. Since the mid-1990s, Henderson has performed the song “God Bless America” at the Indianapolis 500® accompanied by the Purdue University “All-American Marching Band.” Since 2008, Henderson has hosted the TV talk show The Florence Henderson Show.
Captain Keith Colburn is the captain of the Wizard vessel on the Discovery Channel’s hit show Deadliest Catch. The documentary-style reality show portrays the events aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan king crab and C. opilio crab fishing seasons.
Dave Hester is an auction hunter on the A&E reality TV series Storage Wars, which follows professional buyers who purchase the content of storage lockers in California as a single lot of items based on a five-minute inspection of what they can see from the door when it is opened.
Smurfette and Clumsy were introduced in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, The Smurfs. Smurfette was the first female character from the cartoon. Clumsy Smurf is a somewhat dimwitted but amiable Smurf known for his hobby of collecting rocks. In 2011, The Smurfs movie was released with Katy Perry voicing the character of Smurfette.
Those drivers who qualified for the Indianapolis 500® on May 27 will be riding as part of the starting field. Past champions Mario Andretti (1969) and Johnny Rutherford (1974, 1976, 1980) will be part of the procession and on floats.
The more than 300,000 spectators who are expected to line the two-mile Parade route will get a glimpse of these celebrities, the 33 starting drivers of the 2012 Indianapolis 500 ®, more than 80 specialty units, floats, marching bands and entertainment groups and giant inflatable balloons. Tickets to the IPL 500 Festival Parade are available at the 500 Festival Ticket Office on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased by calling (317) 614-6400. Reserved bleacher seats are $14.50; reserved chair seats $18 and reserved VIP/TV Zone seats are $32. For more information, visit www.500festival.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Please visit http://www.500festival.com/parade/2012-parade-line or click on the above names to download photos.
The mission of the 500 Festival is to advocate and celebrate the spirit, heritage and legacy of the Indianapolis 500®. Through social, cultural and educational events and programs, the 500 Festival enhances the quality of life for all citizens of our communities.
The 500 Festival, a not-for-profit volunteer organization, was created in 1957 to organize civic events celebrating the greatest race in the world. Over the past 55 years, the 500 Festival has grown to become one of the largest festivals in the nation.
Last year, over 500,000 Hoosiers and visitors participated in nearly 50 events and programs throughout the month of May. Whether they were athletes running the Mini-Marathon, fourth grade students participating in the Education Program, families enjoying the state’s largest festival for kids or spectators being dazzled by one of the nation’s premier parades, they were there, celebrating the legacy.