INDIANAPOLIS (May 21, 2018) – Hollywood stars, sports legends, and Hoosier heroes will take to the streets of downtown Indianapolis for the 62nd IPL 500 Festival Parade, scheduled for Saturday, May 26. The 500 Festival today announced new additions to the celebrity, dignitary and VIP lineup for the Parade. The additions will join the 2018 Grand Marshals, Abby Abel and Mitch Bonar, opening performances from Grammy award-winning performers, and other celebrities and VIPs who were announced last month. Tickets for the 2018 IPL 500 Festival Parade are available for purchase at 500festival.com/tickets/.
New additions to the lineup include:
Victor Oladipo: The star of the Indiana Pacers, Victor Oladipo has won the hearts of basketball fans since his return to Indiana in 2017. Oladipo was named to the NBA All-Star Team in February 2018. Since returning to Indiana, he has led the Pacers back to the playoffs with the team’s best record since the team reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2013. Oladipo will also drive the pace car for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500®.
Bobby Unser: Bobby Unser is one of ten drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 three or more times, and one of just two drivers to have won the 500 in three separate decades (1968, 1975, 1981). From one of the most well-known families in racing, the brother of Al Unser and uncle of Al Unser Jr., Bobby made 258 starts, held 52 pole positions and won 35 races in his 27-year racing career. Unser will ride on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s float.
Lyn St. James: Lyn St. James is known for being the first female driver to win the Rookie of the Year award in the Indianapolis 500 (1992). St. James went on to start seven Indianapolis 500 races and was named one of Sports Illustrated for Women’s Top-100 Women Athletes of the Century. Now, St. James’ focus is motivational speaking revolving around doing the impossible, referencing her breaking into a sport previously dominated by men. She has been a coach and mentor to nearly 300 women drivers across the globe, including Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher.
Ben Higgins: A native of Warsaw, Ind., Ben Higgins was the star of ABC’s The Bachelor in 2016 for the show’s 20th season. Since his time on The Bachelor, Higgins has starred in several TV shows, he’s the co-host of the iHeart Radio podcast, Almost Famous, and recently launched a new, charity-minded venture, Generous Coffee.
Cara Mund, Miss America 2018: In September of 2017, Cara Mund became the first woman from North Dakota to win the title of Miss America. A Brown University honors student, Cara earned a bachelor’s degree in business, entrepreneurship, and organizations. In her role as Miss America, she travels the country to discuss the importance of political engagement, education, and community service.
Governor Eric Holcomb: Governor Holcomb is the 51st Governor of Indiana. He is a born-and-raised Hoosier and a graduate of Pike High School and Hanover College. He spent his entire childhood in Indiana before serving in the Navy for six years and working in Washington D.C. for another six.
Mayor Joe Hogsett: Mayor Hogsett is the 49th mayor of Indianapolis. He is a lifelong Hoosier with deep roots in the city. Before serving the City as Mayor, he served as a federal prosecutor and Secretary of State in Indiana.
General Joseph L. Lengyel: General Joseph L. Lengyel serves as the 28th Chief of the National Guard Bureau and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A leader with a high military acumen, General Lengyel is a direct advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense and National Security Council. At the forefront of all matters pertaining to the National Guard, General Lengyel is the Department of Defense’s official channel of communication to the Governors and State Adjutants General. Ensuring the adequate preparation of more than 453,000 Army and Air National Guard personnel, General Lengyel’s military experience and expertise defines his four-star ranking and decorated military record. He will also be the keynote speaker for the 500 Festival Memorial Service, presented by Rolls-Royce on Friday, May 25.
Major General Courtney P. Carr: Major General Carr is the Adjutant General of Indiana. He was appointed on June 1, 2015, and primarily serves in leadership of the Indiana Army and Air National Guard, the Indiana Guard Reserve, and state employees all totaling over 15,800 personnel to meet state and federal missions. General Carr also began his career upon graduation of the U.S. Military Academy in May of 1983.
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.