INDIANAPOLIS (April 25, 2018) – Hollywood stars, musicians, and Hoosier heroes will take to the streets of downtown Indianapolis for the 62nd IPL 500 Festival Parade, scheduled for Saturday, May 26. The producers of the movie, Rudy, which celebrates its 25th anniversary; Oscar winner, Doug Jones; members of the cast of the movie 12 Strong, joined by Special Forces team members of Task Force Dagger 595, and numerous others are among the first group of announced celebrities and VIPs scheduled to appear in the IPL 500 Festival Parade. Inspirational advocates for unified sports, Abby Abel and Mitch Bonar will serve as Grand Marshals of the 2018 IPL 500 Festival Parade. Grammy-winning hip-hop violinist, Miri Ben-Ari and technology dance group, iLuminate will headline the Parade’s opening production. Also appearing will be the 33 starting drivers of the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500®, presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Tickets for the 2018 IPL 500 Festival Parade are available for purchase at 500festival.com/tickets/.
2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the motion picture, Rudy, named one of AFI’s most inspiring movies. To commemorate the milestone, the director and screenwriter of the famous movie will join the IPL 500 Festival Parade lineup.
- David Anspaugh: Emmy and Golden Globe-winning director, David Anspaugh was the backbone behind the creation of the inspiration film, Rudy, as well as another beloved sports drama, Hoosiers. A native of Decatur, Indiana, and graduate of Indiana University, Anspaugh’s career also included directing the television shows, Hill Street Blues, Elsewhere and Miami Vice.
- Angelo Pizzo: A movie mogul who grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, Angelo Pizzo is famed for writing and producing Rudy as well as Pizzo now resides in Indiana with his family.
12 Strong | Task Force Dagger 595: Cast members from the movie 12 Strong, will be joined by real-life members of Task Force Dagger 595, the first Special Forces Team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11 and basis of the movie. The list of the brave Green Beret Special Forces members joining this year’s Parade includes: Mark Nutsch, Will Summers, and Chris Spence. Cast members appearing in the IPL 500 Festival Parade include:
- Geoff Stults: Actor Geoff Stults played the character Sean Coffers in the movie, 12 Strong. He also acted in the long running TV show, 7th Heaven, as well as The Odd Couple and Grace and Frankie.
- Kenny Sheard: After 12+ years in the U.S. Navy, Kenny Sheard transitioned to the reserves and focused on developing skills that would become an essential foundation for his career as an actor and stuntman. Sheared played the character Bill Bennett in 12 Strong. He’s worked in numerous other high-profile films and television series including Transformers: Age of Extinction, 13 Hours and John Wick: Chapter 2.
Doug Jones: Actor Doug Jones captured the attention of critics with his portrayal of Amphibian Man, the creature at the center of the film, The Shape of Water, an Oscar-winner for Best Motion Picture. Jones’ 30+ year career includes more than 150 productions in film and TV, including playing the role of The Fawn in Pan’s Labyrinth, the title character in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Abe Sapien in Hellboy, Billy Butcherson in Hocus Pocus, as well as his current starring role as Saru in the CBS All Access series, Star Trek: Discovery. Jones is a graduate of Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis and a Ball State University alum.
Jim Cornelison: Best known as the powerful and exclusive voice behind “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Chicago Blackhawks’ home games, Jim Cornelison thrilled hundreds of thousands of fans with his performance of “Back Home Again in Indiana” at the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500. He’ll appear in the IPL 500 Festival Parade before performing the iconic song once again at the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Zachary Spicer: Zachary Spicer is an actor, producer, and the CEO of Pigasus Pictures. He recently starred in the movie The Good Catholic. He’s also known for his role in the Netflix Original Series Master of None, and has appeared in television series including, Gotham, Blue Bloods, and Law & Order SVU. Spicer is an Indiana native and an Indiana University alum.
John Armstrong: John Armstrong is an actor, producer, and COO of Pigasus Pictures, an Indiana-based film production company. A native of Indiana and Indiana University alum, Armstrong produced the movie The Good Catholic, starring Danny Glover and John McGinley as well as the upcoming feature titled, Ms. White Light, starring Tony Award-winning actress Judith Light.
Kristin and Danny Adams: Kristin and Danny Adams are viral video creators whose weekly online videos have amassed more than 500 million views. They became famous after a funny lip-sync video went viral in 2017. Kristin, a former television host, and Danny, a former actor, comedian and stunt man, met in Los Angeles before returning to Danny’s hometown of Indianapolis in 2016.
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Miri Ben-Ari: Miri Ben-Ari is a Grammy Award-Winning violinist, producer, and humanitarian, a “UN Goodwill Ambassador of Music” to the United Nations. Originally from Israel, she has created her own unique music; a revolutionary fusion of classical, Hip-Hop, soul and dance. A classically trained violinist who once studied under the late classical master Isaac Stern, Ben-Ari has helped sell millions of records by collaborating with other Grammy award-winning artists such as Kanye West, Jay Z, Wyclef Jean, Alicia Keys, Wynton Marsalis, Britney Spears, Maroon 5, Akon, Patti Labelle, Brandy, Donna Summer, Janet Jackson, John Legend, Aventura, and Armin Van Buuren.
iLuminate: iLuminate is an entertainment technology dance group that combines state-of-the-art technology with electrifying entertainers who perform in the dark to create the ultimate performing arts experience. The group’s lighting effects and choreographed performances take viewers on an exhilarating ride. Once called “the best new act in America” during their run on America’s Got Talent, they’ve also performed alongside Grammy-winning superstars like Christina Aguilera, The Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta, and more. The group has been featured on Dancing with the Stars, X Factor, American Music Awards, MTV, BET, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and more.
One of the original 500 Festival events, the IPL 500 Festival Parade is one of the nation’s largest, most respected parades, consistently earning national acclaim alongside the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. More than 300,000 people will line the streets of downtown Indianapolis to experience the larger-than-life floats, giant helium balloons, celebrities, award-winning bands, and all 33 drivers competing in the 102nd running of the Indy 500.
The 2018 IPL 500 Festival Parade will be themed, Illuminate. Innovate. Indianapolis. Every May, the world turns its focus on Indianapolis. Beaming with civic pride and radiating a racing spirit, together we can present a city that shines bright at the forefront of a cutting edge world. This May, our community and guests will come together to illuminate the history, tradition, and sacrifices of our heroes on Memorial Day Weekend, while looking forward and saluting Indy’s commitment to innovate the world around us. So let’s turn the lights up high, point the camera on Indy, and take action for the 102nd Running of the Indy 500. Illuminate. Innovate. Indianapolis.
The 2018 IPL 500 Festival Parade will take place on Saturday, May 26. Parade festivities will start at 11:45 am ET in downtown Indianapolis. IPL 500 Festival Parade tickets start at $10 and can be purchased at 500festival.com/tickets, by calling (317) 614-6400, or at the 500 Festival Ticket Office, located at 21 Virginia Ave. in Downtown Indianapolis. The Ticket Office is open on weekdays from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.
The IPL 500 Festival Parade will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports and to the Indianapolis market on WTHR, Channel 13. For more information about the IPL 500 Festival Parade, please visit 500festival.com/parade or search #IPL500Parade on social media.
EDITOR’S NOTE: To download photos of celebrities participating in this year’s IPL 500 Festival Parade, please click the link embedded in their name.
About the 500 Festival
Founded in 1957, the 500 Festival is a not-for-profit organization that produces more than 50 life-enriching events and programs while celebrating the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and fostering positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana. One of the largest festivals in the nation, each year more than half a million people attend an event or program produced by the 500 Festival. Since its founding, the 500 Festival has contributed more than $400 million in economic value to Indianapolis. To learn more about the 500 Festival, please visit www.500festival.com, follow us on Twitter @500festival, or on Facebook.