500 Festival Parade kicks off weekend

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Memorial Day weekend gets into full swing Saturday as the 500 Festival Parade kicks off at noon in downtown Indianapolis.

Around 300,000 people are expected to attend this year's event, which is one of the nation's premier parades.

This year singer Olivia Newton-John will serve as parade grand marshal. Singer Gladys Knight will be the legendary honoree, while country music artist Jana Kramer will perform the parade's opening number, "Why Ya Wanna" from her new album. The Pride of Desoto Central Marching Band from Southhaven, MS and Indy's own Ben Davis Marching Giants will accompany Kramer.

Parade route

Street closings (Also, parking meters on the parade route and on streets nearby will be closed.)

Cost: TV/VIP Reserved Seats $32.00; Reserved Chair Seats $19.00; Reserved Bleacher Seats $14.50

Buy tickets

Other celebs:

Guy Fieri is a restaurateur, best-selling author and host of the Food Network's hit show "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." Fieri will drive the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Pace Car.

Maria Menounos is an actress, author and the host of TV's Extra. At 22, she became the youngest person to host Entertainment Tonight and would later report for Today, Dateline and Nightly News. In 2008, she conducted the only interview with the Obama family during the presidential campaign. Maria is the New York Times bestselling author of the self-help book, The EveryGirl's Guide to Life.

Rick Springfield will also be part of the 2012 IPL 500 Festival Parade. With a career spanning more than three decades, Springfield has sold more than 19 million albums including five Top 10 and 17 Top 40 hits. He earned a Grammy for "Best Male Rock Vocal Performance" for "Jessie's Girl" in 1982. He is also known for his role as Dr. Noah Drake on the popular daytime drama General Hospital.

Eddie Money is an American rock guitarist, saxophonist and singer-songwriter who has had numerous Top 40 hits including "Two Tickets to Paradise," "Walk on Water," "Take Me Home Tonight" and more.

Chuck Pagano will enter his first season with the Indianapolis Colts and 11th year in the NFL after being named head coach in January 2012. Pagano brings a wealth of coaching experience, totaling 28 years in the professional and collegiate ranks.

Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr. will serve as the featured speaker at the 500 Festival Memorial Service, presented by Rolls-Royce on May 25. Winnefeld will also participate in this year's Parade festivities. He is currently the ninth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and is the nation's second highest-ranking military officer.

The Indiana Pacemates, are the official dance squad of the Indiana Pacers. Originally known as the Marathon Scoreboard Girls and then the Paul Harris Pacerettes in the ABA, the squad presented fashion shows during selected timeouts and halftimes. After several years, the squad evolved into an entertainment entity of the franchise during the 1972-73 season and become known as the Indiana Pacemates. They were heralded as the first professional dance/cheerleading squad in the NBA when the Pacers joined the league in 1976.

Florence Henderson is an actress and singer best known for playing the role of Carol Brady in the television program The Brady Bunch. Since the mid-1990s, Henderson has performed the song "God Bless America" at the Indianapolis 500® accompanied by the Purdue University "All-American Marching Band." Since 2008, Henderson has hosted the TV talk show The Florence Henderson Show.

Captain Keith Colburn is the captain of the Wizard vessel on the Discovery Channel's hit show Deadliest Catch. The documentary-style reality show portrays the events aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan king crab and C. opilio crab fishing seasons.

Dave Hester is an auction hunter on the A&E reality TV series Storage Wars, which follows professional buyers who purchase the content of storage lockers in California as a single lot of items based on a five-minute inspection of what they can see from the door when it is opened.

Smurfette and Clumsy were introduced in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, The Smurfs. Smurfette was the first female character from the cartoon. Clumsy Smurf is a somewhat dimwitted but amiable Smurf known for his hobby of collecting rocks. In 2011, The Smurfs movie was released with Katy Perry voicing the character of Smurfette.

Those drivers who qualified for the Indianapolis 500® on May 27 will be riding as part of the starting field. Past champions Mario Andretti (1969) and Johnny Rutherford (1974, 1976, 1980) will be part of the procession and on floats.

33 Indy 500 Drivers

Scott Thiems - 500 Festival Chairman of the Board

Mayor Greg Ballard

Jeff Belskus - IMS President & CEO

Mari Hulman-George & family

Floats (Click here to view the 2012 IPL 500 Festival Parade Float concepts)


American Flag sponsored by WGU Indiana

Cat in the Hat sponsored by the Indianapolis Public Library

Dennis the Menace sponsored by Dairy Queen

Golden Dragon sponsored by Confucius Institute in Indianapolis

Miss Piggy sponsored by AAA Hoosier Motor Club

Papa Smurf sponsored by Hilton Indianapolis Hotel and Suites

Red, White, and Blue Stars sponsored by Monarch Beverage

Rookie One

Vintage 57' Race Car sponsored by 500 Festival Foundation

11 Rows of Helmets

Specialty Units

Dance NY Style/Sharing Stages w/ race flag sound machine

Fred Hill Briefcase Drill Team

IMPD Mounted Unit  (Equine)

Indiana Ceremonial Unit  (Equine)

Indianapolis Police Motorcycle Drill Team

Indianapolis 500 Gordon Pipers

Indianapolis 500 Shrine Club

Joint Service Color Guard

Nationalities Council of Indiana

OneAmerica "Spirit of America" Walking Flag

Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps (DCI)

Wells Fargo Stagecoach (Equine)

Marching Bands

Ben Davis Marching Giants

Center Grove High School Marching Band   ISSMA-Class A

Concordia Lutheran High School Marching Cadets   ISSMA-Class B

Hampton High School Marching Band - Allison Park, PA (BGA)

Indiana All-Star Marching Band

Indianapolis Public School All City Marching Band

Jay County Marching Patriots    State Fair Top 5

Lapel Marching Bulldogs

Lewis Cass Marching Kings and Royal Guard

Northview Marching Knights  ISSMA-Class B

Purdue University All-American Marching Band

Speedway 500 Regiment

The Orleans Bulldog Regiment   ISSMA-Class D

The Pride of Desoto Central Marching Band (BGA)