April 13, 2017
INDIANAPOLIS (April 13, 2017) – The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events for Indiana and celebrating the legacy of the Indianapolis 500, today announced that Eva Kor has been named Grand Marshal of the 2017 IPL 500 Festival Parade. The 61st IPL 500 Festival Parade will take place on Saturday, May 27. Tying into the theme for this year’s Parade, Accelerating the American Spirit, the opening performance by X Ambassadors, will celebrate “ Renegades” from within our community who have overcome challenges to achieve great things. As Grand Marshal, Eva will lead Hoosiers in the celebration of the human spirit.
Eva Mozes Kor is a survivor of the Holocaust and forgiveness advocate. At the age of 10 she entered Auschwitz where she was separated from most of her family. She and her twin sister were subjected to unthinkable medical experiments and fought daily for their own survival until the camp was eventually liberated. Kor's experiences in Auschwitz, coupled with her never-give-up attitude, led her to a life of advocacy work, teaching remembrance, understanding, and hope.
A resident of Terre Haute, Ind., Eva co-founded the organization, CANDLES (Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiment Survivors) as well as the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, also located in Terre Haute. Remarkably, after her internment at Auschwitz, Eva publicly forgave the Nazis. Eva works tirelessly, dedicating her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and working toward goals of forgiveness, peace, and the elimination of hatred and prejudice in the world.
To honor her extraordinary work, Eva Kor has been named Grand Marshal of the 61st IPL 500 Festival Parade. Indiana Governor, Eric Holcomb, in concert with officials from the 500 Festival and IPL surprised Eva by announcing her selection as this year’s Grand Marshal during her Sachem Award ceremony on April 13. The Sachem Award is Indiana’s highest honor.
"Eva Mozes Kor is a hero and the ultimate Renegade. Despite a childhood that was consumed by utter devastation, she decided to live her life based in hope, forgiveness, courage and selflessness,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “Eva’s compassion, resilience and spirit is an inspiration to us all. We are proud to have her serve as the Grand Marshal of the 2017 IPL 500 Festival Parade and we can’t wait to celebrate her!”
“Having Eva serve as Grand Marshal of one of Indiana’s most cherished community events - the IPL 500 Festival Parade - will give us all an opportunity to celebrate her many accomplishments and continue spreading her message of hope, forgiveness and respect and the power of the human spirit,” said Rafael Sanchez, President & CEO, IPL. “We’re proud to honor Eva and her inspirational work.”
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 100th running of the Indy 500, specialty units, and award-winning bands from across the country.
THEME: 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.
Each year, more than half a million people participate in the 500 Festival’s programs and events which showcase the city on a world stage. Race fans, Hoosiers, and everyone can start Accelerating the American Spirit by joining in the month-long calendar of events leading up to race weekend. Those events include the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, the IPL 500 Festival Parade, the KeyBank 500 Festival Snakepit Ball, and many more.
The 2017 IPL 500 Festival Parade will take place on Saturday, May 27, with Parade festivities starting at 11:45 am. It will be nationally televised on NBC Sports Network and locally on WTHR. 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 a photo of Eva, click HERE.
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 that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and foster 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.