Zoeller® Pump Company Pegasus® Parade

The 2024 Zoeller Pump Company Pegasus Parade returns to Broadway in Downtown Louisville on Sunday, April 28. This family-friendly annual event showcases some of the nation’s finest marching bands and equestrian units, along with inflatable characters and colorful floats.

The parade marches west on Broadway for 17 blocks and lasts approximately two hours.

Originating in 1956 on a budget of only $640, the Pegasus Parade is the Kentucky Derby Festival’s oldest event. Today, the Pegasus Parade is one of the largest in the country, contributing an estimated impact of more than $22 million to the local economy.

The 2024 parade theme will be announced soon!

Get the best seat on the route! Reserve your Bleacher or VIP seating along the parade route.

Ticket options include:

  • Bleacher seating $10 (along Broadway from Hancock to 6th Street).
  • VIP RESERVED bleacher ticket includes premium viewing in TV zone, parking pass for every four tickets purchased and complimentary drinks and snacks $35 (along Broadway between Floyd and Preston).


In 1956, the Pegasus Parade® was the first event held by the Kentucky Derby Festival®. With four volunteers and a budget of $640, the parade excited Louisvillians and their guests with floats, inflatables, marching bands, equestrian units, and celebrities traveling down Broadway. It was the start of a tradition that has become the cornerstone on which a festival was built.

Originally held on the Thursday before the Kentucky Derby, the Pegasus Parade showcases the community at its best. With dogwoods and tulips in full bloom, the stage is set on downtown’s main thoroughfare for one of the country’s largest and most entertaining spectacles.

Among the most spectacular units are the larger-than-life floats. Many are built by the employees or volunteers of the sponsoring groups, who take the awards competition very seriously. The result is one of the most animated, colorful displays in the country. In addition, some of the nation’s best high school bands blow the lines off the street with lively music. A staple of any parade in the Bluegrass state, beautiful equestrian units add more color and excitement. Giant inflatable character balloons, clowns and celebrities round out the mix of this annual rite of spring.

Highlights over the years have included the appearance of a Duke and a General. Hollywood stars such as John Wayne, Michael Landon, Lorne Greene and William Shatner have served as Grand Marshals of the parade.

Entertainers from Carol Channing and Liberace to Gladys Knight and Loretta Lynn have graced the route. And, of course, hometown heroes like Muhammad Ali and Colonel Harland Sanders have been favorites. Perhaps the most crowning achievement was the moving inclusion of General Norman Schwarzkopf in his first public appearance in the U.S. at the conclusion of the Gulf War.

The celebrities and heroes make for exciting additions to the annual march. Yet the real magic in the Pegasus Parade is in the faces of the thousands of participants and spectators who converge to make this annual rite of spring come to life each year. The grins on kids from ages 2 to 92 tell that story best.

The Parade marches west on Broadway from Campbell Street to Ninth Street.

Now one of the Festival’s largest spectator events, the parade has a tremendous impact on the economy. It generates $14 million in economic activity annually. More than 500 volunteers help staff the two-hour production that includes and average of 2500 participants each year. The magical parade attracts crowds in excess of 200,000 along the 1.7-mile route.

The event has been broadcast live locally on NBC affiliate WAVE 3 TV since 1982. Willard Scott of NBC’s Today Show served as master of ceremonies from 1982-2005. The local broadcast brings the Parade an additional 200,000 viewers annually.

1956- Tom Young, Superintendent of Churchill Downs
1957- Maj. Gen. John L. Ryan
1958- Dr. Phillip Davidson
1959- Maj. Gen. W. Paul Johnson
1960- Raymond Burr
1961- Dwayne Hickman
1962- Maj. Gen. J. E. Bastion
1963- Michael Landon
1964- Joe E. Brown, Edie Adams, Liberace
1965- Alan Hale, Jr.
1966- Robert Conrad
1967- Dale Robertson (Parade cancelled)
1968- Jimmy Ellis
1969- Fess Parker
1970- Peter Graves
1971- Ed Asner
1972- Lorne Greene
1973- Rod Steiger
1974- Lynn Stone
1975- Joe B. Hall, Denny Crum
1976- John Wayne
1977- Col. Harland Sanders
1978- Foster Brooks
1979- Phyllis George
1980- Darrell Griffith, Kyle Macy
1981- Muhammad Ali
1982- Gov. A. B. “Happy” Chandler
1983- Bill Monroe
1984- Diane Sawyer
1985- Rosemary Clooney
1986- Ricky Skaggs
1987- Ned Beatty
1988- Annie Potts
1989- Danny Sullivan
1990- John Forsythe
1991- Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf
1992- William Shatner
1993- Gladys Knight
1994- Willard Scott
1995- Pat Day, Terry Wilcutt
1996- Coach Rick Pitino
1997- Capt. Scott O’Grady
1998- Gloria Stuart
1999- Loretta Lynn
2000- Tori Murden-McClure & Miss America Heather Renee French
2001- Buzz Aldrin & Denny Crum
2002- Winter Olympic Bronze Medalists: U.S. Bobsled Team
2003- Little League World Series Champions: Valley Sports American
2004- Cathy Guisewite: Creator of “Cathy” comic strip
2005- Chubby Checker
2006- Muhammad Ali
2007- Mickey Mouse (Grand Magician: Mac King)
2008- Bobby Flay (Honorary Grand Marshal: Patrick Henry Hughes)
2009- Professional golfer Kenny Perry and his father, Ken
2010- Diane Lane and Penny Chenery
2011- Congressional Medal of Honor recipients: World War II veteran Hershel “Woody” Williams of West Virginia; Korean War veteran Ernie West of Russell, Ky.; Vietnam War veteran Gary Littrell of Henderson, Ky; and Vietnam War veteran Don Jenkins of Quality, Ky. (Honorary Grand Marshals: Bellarmine University’s NCAA Division II men’s national champion basketball team)
2012- Cyndi Lauper
2013- University of Louisville Men’s & Women’s Basketball Teams
2014- Jeff Corwin & Josh Hopkins
2015- Teddy Bridgewater
2016- Jordan Smith
2017- Dolvett Quince
2018- Joe B. Hall and Denny Crum
2019- Black Panther, Spider-Man, Captain America and Black Widow
2020- Parade cancelled
2021- Our Community
2022- Louisville Community
2023 – Secretariat (bronze monument commemorating the 50th anniversary of America’s horse)

1956- “Pegasus Parade”
1957- “Famous Horses”
1958- “This Is Kentucky”
1959- “Famous Songs”
1960- “Famous Firsts”
1961- “Civil War Centennial”
1962- “Our American Heritage”
1963- “Great Adventures”
1964- “Happy Holidays”
1965- “Fairy Tales – Nursery Rhymes”
1966- “Festival Days ‘Round The World”
1967- Parade cancelled
1968- “Great Moments In American History”
1969- “The Wonderful World Of Music”
1970- “Rediscover America”
1971- “America The Beautiful”
1972- “Broadway On Parade”
1973- “Great Books”
1974- “Remember The Year”
1975- “The Land Of Make-Believe”
1976- “The American Dream”
1977- “A Child’s Dream”
1978- “Leisure Time”
1979- “World Of Entertainment”
1980- “Silver Celebration”
1981- “A Parade Of Festivals”
1982- “America, Kentucky-Style”
1983- “Springtime Magic”
1984- “America’s Tradition – Hometown USA”
1985- “The Magic Of Make-Believe”
1986- “The Whole World’s Getting Together”
1987- “Reflections of America”
1988- “Headed For The Future”
1989- “Festival: A Magic Moment In Time”
1990- “Festival: 35th Celebration”
1991- “Kentucky Derby Festival: Vision Of The ’90s”
1992- “Celebrate Kentucky”
1993- “All for Fun, Fun for All!!”
1994- “Forever Young”
1995- “Magical Visions…Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow!”
1996- “Through a Child’s Eyes”
1997- “Frontiers Across the Centuries”
1998- “Hollywood on Broadway”
1999- “Music. . . That’s Entertainment”
2000- “Crowning Achievements”
2001- “A Galaxy of Fun”
2002- “Thrill of the Game”
2003- “The Spirit of Adventure”
2004- “Broadway Toon Town”
2005- “Rockin @ 50”
2006- “Once Upon A Toy”
2007- “Wonders, Wizards and Wands”
2008- “A World of Possibilities”
2009- “Destinations & Discoveries”
2010- “Spring Fever Reliever”
2011- “Heroic Adventures”
2012- “Family, Fun & Games”
2013- “Now That’s Entertainment”
2014- “Call of the Wild”
2015- “Best of Louisville”
2016- “Fun for the Arts”
2017- “Louisville on the Move”
2018- “#ThrowbackThursday”
2019- “Pegasus Power”
2020- Parade cancelled
2021 -“A Tribute to the Community.”
2022 – “Loving Louisville”
2023 – “Celebrating Derby Traditions”

2023 Pegasus Parade FAQ’s

Q. When does the parade take place?
A. In 2022, the Derby Festival started a new tradition by moving the Pegasus Parade to a Sunday as a way to share this historic event with even more members of our community. For the second year, the parade will help kick off all of the Derby Week festivities. It takes place on Sunday, April 30.


Q. What time does the parade start?
A. The parade marches down Broadway beginning at 3 PM EST. The parade lasts approximately two hours.


Q. Where does the parade take place?
A. Held in downtown Louisville, the parade takes place on Broadway. The route encompasses 17 blocks and is around 1.7-miles long. It heads West on Broadway, starting at Campbell Street and concluding at 9th Street.


Q. What time should I get to the parade?
A. We recommend that you arrive early to get a good spot.  The parade steps off at 3 PM, so you don’t want to miss anything!


Q. We are not going to be able to make it down to the parade; can we see it on TV?
A. Of course!  You can watch all of the action live on WAVE 3 starting at 3 PM.


Q. What can I expect to see at the parade?
A.  Giant inflatables featuring recognized characters, spectacular floats, marching bands, exquisite equestrian units and exciting performance groups.


Q. I’d like help out with the parade; are there volunteer opportunities available?
A. Yes, we are always looking for volunteers and have plenty of roles to fill.  Please click here for details on volunteer opportunities.


Q. How do I apply to be part of the Pegasus Parade?
A. Applications open Nov. 4. Derby Festival is looking for participants in the following categories: Equestrians, Specialty Units, Marching Bands, Inflatables, and Floats. Interested participants can submit their applications online. The deadline to apply is Jan. 31, 2023.

PLEASE NOTE: For organizations/businesses that are unsure about the correct category when applying (for example, Commercial Units seeking to participate in the parade for advertising purposes), please contact us via this link.


Q: How/When will I know if my unit is accepted?

A: With approximately 100 units allowed in the parade each year, the Derby Festival cannot accommodate all units who apply. After our review committee carefully evaluates each application, units will be notified of decisions via email around mid-January.  However, units who are not selected for participation in the parade are welcome to contact the Derby Festival for additional opportunities to get involved with the Festival.


Q. What is the theme of this year’s parade?
A. “Celebrating Derby Traditions.” (To showcase all that is special and unique about the Derby Festival season to the community. In designing units, participants are encourage to consider all that makes Derby Festival and Derby a memorable time of year – everything from Derby Festival events, fashions and fascinators to family traditions, horse racing and springtime).


For additional questions, please contact Elexus Buie at 502-572-3835 or ebuie@kdf.org.

Several of the units participating in the 2023 Zoeller Pump Company Pegasus Parade received awards for their participation.

Norton Healthcare took home the Addison McGhee Grand Champion Award for best overall float; Second Chance at Life won the 2nd Place KDF Board Chair’s Award; Hwang’s Martial Arts received the 3rd Place KDF President’s Award; Louisville Parks & Recreation won the Grand Marshal’s Award for best representation of the theme; and TCB Otis Entertainment won the Queen’s Award.

West Allegheny Marching Pride won the Grand Prize in the Basil Caummisar Battle of the Bands competition.

The parade is known for its beautiful equestrian units. The first-place award for Best Mounted Equestrian Unit went to Young Guns 4-H Rodeo Drill Team. The Hardin County Company B Equestrian Drill Team won the Pooper Stars Award.