500 Festival Announces First Round of Celebrity Commitments for this Mays Lineup of Events

500 Festival Announces First Round of Celebrity Commitments for this Mays Lineup of Events

Wed, 2014-02-19

INDIANAPOLIS (February 19, 2014) – What do the Olympics, the movie “Grease” and Irish Tenors have in common? They will all be represented at 500 Festival events and programs this May. Gracie Gold, U.S. Figure Skater, Olivia Newton-John, Grammy winner and world- renowned performer, and Ronan Tynan, Irish Tenor, have all agreed to be a part of this year’s festivities.

“The month of May is a great tradition with a variety of events to fuel the spirit of Indianapolis. The 500 Festival is very excited to welcome Gracie, Olivia and Ronan to be a part of the tradition. These three are truly remarkable people to whom we are grateful for their participation and look forward to their spirit and enthusiasm as a welcome addition to the festivities of May,” said Bob Bryant, President and CEO, 500 Festival. “We could not ask for a better start to our celebrity commitments to 500 Festival activities. This year’s month of May is sure to be one of the best ever.”

Gracie Gold, reigning U.S. Figure Skating Champion and U.S. Olympic team member competing in the Winter Olympics at Sochi will be coming to Indianapolis for the IPL 500 Festival Parade as a VIP participant. Gracie is 18 years-old and one of the U.S. medal contenders at the XXII Olympic Winter Games. Gracie, daughter of Denise and Carl Gold, has a twin sister, Carly. Gracie, who is just 18 years old, already has a gold (2014) and silver (2013) medal in the U.S. Championships and a silver medal at the 2012 World Junior Championship.  

It was also recently announced that Olivia Newton-John will be heading to Indianapolis as a participant in the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon.  She will be joined by her nephew, racecar driver Emerson Newton-John, as they generate awareness for Pink and Blue for Two, a charity co-founded by Emerson. Pink and Blue for Two is a breast and prostate cancer awareness charity dedicated to promoting the importance of early detection. Olivia is a four-time Grammy winner and a nine-time American Music Award recipient. One of the most well-liked global entertainers, Olivia has experienced over 50 years of success with 18 concerts tours around the world and is widely known for her starring role (Sandy) in Grease with John Travolta, released in 1978. Olivia, survivor of breast cancer in 1992, has been an advocate for health awareness for her hospital, Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Center in Australia, and Pink and Blue for Two.

Famed Irish Tenor, Paralympic athlete, motivational speaker and orthopedic doctor, Ronan Tynan will be heading to Indianapolis this May to participate in the 500 Festival Memorial Service presented by Rolls-Royce and in the IPL 500 Festival Parade. A modern day “Renaissance Man”, Ronan competed in the 1984 and 1988 Summer Paralympics, winning a total of four golds, two silvers and one bronze medal. Ronan is also well known for his singing of ‘Amazing Grace” at President Ronald Regan’s funeral and multiple performances of “God Bless America” at Yankee Stadium. Ronan was born with phocomelia, causing both of his lower legs to be underdeveloped, and at the age of 20 had his legs amputated below the knee after a car accident. Despite all of the obstacles Ronan has faced, he is a phenomenal success story that is an inspiration for passion and determination.

The 500 Festival puts on multiple events and programs throughout the month of May to celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500®. The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and the IPL 500 Festival Parade headline a list of 500 Festival events and programs throughout the community. Tickets for the IPL 500 Festival Parade will go on sale March 3. To learn more about the 500 Festival or the events and programs please visit www.500Festival.com.

EDITORS NOTE: Click on the above names to download photos.

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 57 years, the 500 Festival has grown to become one of the largest festivals in the nation. The mission of the 500 Festival is to produce 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.


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