April 30, 2015. Louisville, KY. – The skies cleared just in time for the 60th Republic Bank Pegasus Parade to march down Broadway this evening. A crowd estimated at 185,000 gathered downtown to watch the Kentucky Derby Festival’s oldest and inaugural event. Themed the ‘Best of Louisville,’ this year’s parade celebrated the city and paid tribute to the community that has supported the Derby Festival for 60 years.
In honor of this year’s theme, Minnesota Viking and former UofL Cardinal Teddy Bridgewater, returned to his college hometown to serve as Grand Marshal. Several Louisville natives served as Honorary Grand Marshals including: Actor David DeSanctis, Transatlantic Solo Rower Tori Murden McClure, Renowned Hand Surgeon Dr. Joseph Kutz, Sculptor Ed Hamilton, Olympic Swimmer Mary T. Meagher, NFL Hall of Fame Running Back Paul Hornung; Musician Patrick Henry Hughes; PGA Golf Champion Bobby Nichols; Former NFL Offensive Lineman Will Wolford; and Dr. Dunkenstein, Darrell Griffith.
Other guests who appeared in the parade included: Actor Miguel Ferrer of “NCIS: Los Angeles;” Angel McCoughtry, WNBA/Olympic Medalist and former UofL Cardinal; Monte Durham of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta;” Miss Kentucky 2014 Ramsey Carpenter; and Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev.
This year’s parade featured over 100 units, including 17 floats, 16 equestrian units, 8 inflatables, 9 marching bands, 4 push floats and 30 specialty units.
Several of the units received awards for their participation. CenterStage at the Jewish Community Center took home the Addison McGhee Grand Champion Award for best overall float; Kosair Charities/Kosair Shriners and Second Chance @ Life tied for 2nd Place, both winning the KDF Board Chair’s Award; Brownsboro Hardware & Paint won the 3rd Place KDF President’s Award; Louisville Magazine won the Grand Marshal’s Award for best representation of the theme; Grand Lodge of Kentucky, Free & Accepted Masons, won the Queen’s Award for overall beauty, and Norton Healthcare won the KDF Parade Chairman’s Award for the most spirit. ARTxFM, Belle of Louisville, FandomFest, Funtown Mountain, Hwang’s Martial Arts, Kentuckiana Pride Festival, Metro Parks & Recreation, and Winner’s Circle FIRST Robotics Team received Honorable Mention Awards.
Over 10,000 votes were cast in the People’s Choice online voting competition. FandomFest won the People’s Choice Float Award and LG&E’s “Louie the Lightning Bug” won the People’s Choice Inflatable Award.
The parade is known for its beautiful equestrian units. The Grand Champion Award for the Best Equestrian Unit went to Young Guns 4H Drill Team. The first place award for Best Mounted Equestrian Unit went American Side Saddle Association. Best Commercial Driven Equestrian Unit went to Wells Fargo Stage Coach; Best Non-Commercial Driven Unit was awarded to Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry. Jasper High School won the Grand Prize in the Basil Caummisar Battle of the Bands competition. Kosair Shriner Units won the Ray Wimberg Specialty Unit Award, Zirmed, Inc. with “Kermit the Frog” won the Earl Ruby Inflatable Spirit Award and Southeast Platinum Riders won the Pooper Stars Award.
The Pegasus Parade – the Kentucky Derby Festival’s founding event – is one of nearly 70 events produced by the Kentucky Derby Festival in the spring. The first parade was organized by just a handful of volunteers in 1956 on a budget of $640. It provides an estimated impact of $22 million to the area’s economy.