INDIANAPOLIS (May 12, 2012) – The 500 Festival announced today that singer/actress/author Olivia Newton-John has been named Grand Marshal of the 2012 IPL 500 Festival Parade. The 55th IPL 500 Festival Parade is Saturday, May 26 and will celebrate the 2012 500 Festival theme: A New REVolution. In addition to being the Grand Marshal for the Parade, Newton-John will also be an honorary guest at the Regions 500 Festival Snakepit Ball, presented by Cindy and Paul Skjodt.
In addition, Newton-John will give the command to start engines for the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 race on Friday, May 25. Newton-John will have more than just passing interest in the race as her nephew Emerson Newton-John will be making his debut as a driver in the series. She will also be on hand for the running of the 96th Indianapolis 500 and will participate in the annual red carpet walk at the track.
“I am so excited to be the Grand Marshal for the IPL 500 Festival Parade! The combination of this honor and being in Indianapolis to support my nephew, Emerson Newton-John, during the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 race is sure to make for a wonderful weekend,” said Olivia Newton-John. “Emerson has worked tirelessly over the last ten years in the pursuit of rekindling his racing career and I can’t wait to see him take the green flag on the 25th!”
Olivia Newton-John is a four-time Grammy award winner who has amassed five No. 1 singles and 10 Top Ten Billboard Hot 100 singles. With more than 100 million albums sold worldwide, her music has been successful in multiple formats including pop, country and adult contemporary. She co-starred with John Travolta in the most successful movie musical in history, Grease, which featured one of the most successful film soundtracks in Hollywood history. In 2010, she appeared as herself in two episodes of the hit series, “Glee,” adding another Top 100 hit to her credits with a new version of “Physical” sung with Jane Lynch and her new film, “A Few Best Men” is set for release later this year. She recently released her first book, LivWise: Easy Recipes For A Healthy, Happy Life, with all of her royalties benefitting the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre which, after 10 years of fundraising and building, will open in Melbourne, Australia in June 2012. Since surviving breast cancer in 1992, Newton-John has been an advocate for health awareness becoming involved with various charities, health products and fundraising efforts. She continues to give back to the community generously and has been acknowledged by charitable and environmental organizations for her ongoing efforts.
“Olivia Newton-John’s appeal is timeless. With a career spanning more than four decades, she is adored by fans around the world,” said Kirk Hendrix, President and CEO of the 500 Festival. “We are pleased and honored to have Olivia participate as Grand Marshal of the IPL 500 Festival.”
More than 300,000 spectators are expected to line the two-mile parade route to see the 33 starting drivers of the 2012 Indianapolis 500®, more than 80 specialty units, floats, marching bands and giant inflatable balloons.
This year’s parade is a true representation of the power and pageantry of the month of May with a television package that will bolster the Parade’s national presence, airing on May 26 at 5 p.m. on NBC Sports Network and 8 p.m. locally on WISH-TV. Tickets to the IPL 500 Festival Parade are available at the 500 Festival Ticket Office weekdays from 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased by calling (317) 614-6400. Reserved bleacher seats are $14.50; reserved chair seats $19 and reserved VIP/TV Zone seats are $32. For more information, visit www.500festival.com.