May 3, 2018. Louisville, KY. – Fans lined the street as the Kentucky Derby Festival’s oldest and inaugural event – the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade – marched down Broadway tonight. Themed “#ThrowbackThursday,” this year’s parade featured over 100 units, including 10 floats, 13 equestrian units, 5 inflatables, 8 marching bands, 2 push floats and 42 specialty units.
“It was a great day for the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade!” said Mike Berry, KDF President and CEO. “Fans packed the sidewalks and streets to watch on Broadway. After 63 years, it’s amazing to see how it still brings the community together in celebration every spring.”
Former coaching rivals and basketball fan favorites Joe B. Hall and Denny Crum were the parade’s Co-Grand Marshals. The Louisville City FC 2017 USL Championship Team, along with the Kentucky Colonels served as Honorary Grand Marshals.
Other guests included: Brittany Cartwright and Jax Taylor of Bravo TV’s “Vanderpump Rules/Jax and Brittany Take Kentucky,” Monte Durham of “Say Yes To The Dress:Atlanta,” Montel Williams (actor, television and radio talk show host), Jason Smith of Food Network, Judah and the Lion, Miss Kentucky 2017 Molly Matney and Miss America 2018 Cara Mund.
Several of the units received awards for their participation. Norton Healthcare took home the Addison McGhee Grand Champion Award for best overall float; Shirley’s Way/Ride To Ride Out Cancer won the 2nd Place KDF Board Chair’s Award; Kentucky Proud received the 3rd Place KDF President’s Award; Grand Lodge of Kentucky, Free & Accepted Masons, won the Grand Marshal’s Award for best representation of the theme; Kosair Charities won the Queen’s Award for overall beauty, and Hwang’s Martial Arts won the KDF Parade Chairman’s Award for the most spirit. Louisville Parks & Recreation and Second Chance @ Life received Honorable Mention Awards.
Nearly 19,000 votes were cast in the People’s Choice online voting competition. Shirley’s Way won the People’s Choice Float Award and LG&E’s “Louie the Lightning Bug” won the People’s Choice Inflatable Award.
The North Allegheny Marching Band won the Grand Prize in the Basil Caummisar Battle of the Bands competition. 610 Stompers won the Ray Wimberg Specialty Unit Award, LG&E’s “Louie the Lightning Bug” won the Earl Ruby Inflatable Spirit Award.
The parade is known for its beautiful equestrian units. The Grand Champion Award for the Best Equestrian Unit went to the Budweiser Clydesdales. The first place award for Best Mounted Equestrian Unit went to Hardin County Company B Drill Team. Budweiser Clydesdales won the Best Commercial Driven Unit. Best Non-Commercial Driven Unit was awarded to Kentucky Back Country Horsemen. American Sidesaddle Association won the Pooper Stars Award.
Republic Bank is the Title Sponsor of the parade, joining Contributing Sponsor KentuckyOne Health and Official Hotel, The Galt House.
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.