INDIANAPOLIS (May 24, 2017) – The 500 Festival today announces additional celebrities and VIPs joining the lineup for the 61st IPL 500 Festival Parade, scheduled for Saturday, May 27 in downtown Indianapolis. Tickets for the 2017 IPL 500 Festival Parade are available for purchase at www.500festival.com/tickets/.
New additions to the lineup include:
Ric Flair: Flair is a celebrity and professional wrestler. Also known as the “Nature Boy,” Flair is among the most famous and well-known wrestlers in the world, and has been one of wrestling’s biggest stars since the late 1970s. He was often popular with the crowd due to his in-ring antics, including rule breaking, cocky interview style, strutting and shouting of “WOOOOO!” The yell has since become a tribute to Flair, and is often shouted by the crowd whenever they see Ric or when another wrestler performs one of Flair’s signature moves.
Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak: The stars of HGTV's Good Bones, mother/daughter team Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak are revitalizing their hometown of Indianapolis one property at a time, buying dilapidated homes and rehabbing them into stunning urban remodels. Since 2007, mother-daughter duo Mina and Karen have renovated close to twenty homes in Fountain Square, a community in Indianapolis adjacent to the city's downtown. Season 2 of the hit show premieres on Tuesday, May 30 on HGTV.
Johnny Rutherford: Rutherford is one of just nine drivers to have won the Indianapolis 500 three or more times, making trips to the winner’s circle in 1974, ’76, and ’80. Fittingly named “Lone Star JR” due to his Texas roots, the three-time winner retired from racing in 1994 and went on to serve as an IndyCar pace car driver for many years. In early May it was announced that Rutherford, who won two Indy 500’s with McLaren, will serve as the McLaren-Honda-Andretti team ambassador. McLaren will be racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time in 38 years as they’ve partnered with Honda and Andretti to field a car in the Indy 500, with Fernando Alonso as the driver.
Matt Painter: The 13-year head coach of Purdue men’s basketball, Painter is a Muncie, Ind. native and a Purdue alum (’94). He rejoined the Boilermakers in 2004 and was tabbed as Gene Keady’s successor, taking over for the winningest coach in the school’s history in 2005. In his tenure, Painter has accrued three Sweet 16 appearances, nine NCAA Tournament berths, two Big Ten regular-season titles, and one Big Ten tournament title. Most recently, the Boilers won the 2016-2017 regular-season title on their way to a Sweet 16 with a 27-8 overall record and a 14-4 record in conference play.
Tom Allen: Allen was named Indiana University’s 29th head football coach on Dec. 1, 2016 and coached the Hoosiers in the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl. A New Castle, Ind. native, Allen began his IU tenure as an associate head coach of the defense during the 2016 season. He created one of the most-improved defenses in the country against a schedule that included four top 10 opponents. The Hoosiers’ newest coach began his coaching career in Florida before returning to Central Indiana as the defensive coordinator of Marian High School in 1997. He moved to Ben Davis as the defensive coordinator from 1998 to 2003 before taking over as the head coach of the Ben Davis program until 2006. He left the state for various collegiate opportunities for the last decade before returning to Bloomington prior to last season.
Family of Florence Henderson
The 500 Festival is also pleased to announce that Florence Henderson will be honored at this year’s IPL 500 Festival Parade. In recognition of the many contributions that Henderson made to the State of Indiana, the Indianapolis 500 and the 500 Festival’s many programs and events, the organization will present her with the 500 Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, posthumously. The award will be presented to Ms. Henderson’s family as part of the IPL 500 Festival Parade.
Her family will ride in the IPL 500 Festival Parade in the antique car that she typically traveled the Parade route in. Once the car reaches the VIP TV Zone, it will come to a stop. This will be the first time in its 60-year history that the IPL 500 Festival Parade has come to a stop in the TV Zone. The family will be greeted by 500 Festival president and CEO, Bob Bryant, who will present them with the award. The IPL 500 Festival Parade will then resume and the car will continue down the route, so Henderson’s family can experience the event that she participated in, year after year, and the 300,000 Parade attendees have the opportunity to celebrate Florence’s life.
Along with the 33 drivers of the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, the 500 Festival announced the following list of celebrities last week:
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, all 33 drivers competing in the 101st running of the Indy 500, specialty units, and award-winning bands from across the country.
In 2017, we turn the corner on last year’s celebration that highlighted many milestones, including the 40th OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, the 60th IPL 500 Festival Parade and the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. It was a great year, but no one is waving the checkered flag just yet. With many laps still to go, May 2017 is a chance to refuel and punch the gas. And with this year’s celebration covered in star-spangled spirit, it’s sure to be an inspiring salute to America on Memorial Day Weekend. The 500 Festival’s 2017 theme, Accelerating the American Spirit, gives Hoosiers the green light to ignite that red, white and blue passion.
The 2017 IPL 500 Festival Parade will take place on Saturday, May 27, with Parade festivities starting at 11:45 am. The IPL 500 Festival Parade will be nationally televised on NBC Sports Network and broadcast to the Indianapolis market on WTHR, Channel 13. Tickets for the IPL 500 Festival Parade start at $15 and can be purchased at www.500festival.com/paradetickets, or at the 500 Festival’s Ticket Office, located at 21 Virginia Ave. in Downtown Indianapolis.
For more information about the IPL 500 Festival Parade, please visit www.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.