May 4, 2017. Louisville, KY. – The 62nd annual Republic Bank Pegasus Parade marched down Broadway Thursday despite the rainy weather. The wet conditions didn’t dampen spirits, as an estimated 100,000 fans braved the elements with ponchos and umbrellas to watch the Kentucky Derby Festival’s oldest and inaugural event, themed “Louisville on the Move.”
“While the rain may have kept some away, we appreciate all those who joined us on Broadway and tuned in at home,” said Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO. “What we lacked in numbers we made up for in enthusiasm as we stayed on the move with Louisville!”
This year’s parade featured over 100 units, including 13 floats, 11 equestrian units, 6 inflatables, 11 marching bands, 2 push floats and 38 specialty units.
Dolvett Quince, known for six seasons on the hit NBC show “The Biggest Loser,” served as Grand Marshal of the 2017 Republic Bank Pegasus Parade. He was joined by Honorary Grand Marshals – Linkin’ Bridge – finalists on season 11 of America’s Got Talent. The group opened the parade with a live performance of “My Old Kentucky Home.”
Other guests included: Justin Cornwell of CBS’ Training Day, Justin Hartley of NBC’s This is Us, Jonathan Kite from CBS’ Two Broke Girls, Chrishell Stause, Actress (from Draffenville, Kentucky), Ariana Madix, Tom Sandoval, Brittany Cartwright and Jax Taylor of Bravo TV’s “Vanderpump Rules”, Miss Kentucky 2016 Laura Jones, and the band Jimmy Eat World.
Several of the units received awards for their participation. Norton Healthcare took home the Addison McGhee Grand Champion Award for best overall float; Second Chance @ Life won the 2nd Place KDF Board Chair’s Award; Hwang’s Martial Arts received the 3rd Place KDF President’s Award; Kosair Charities 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 Masonic Homes won the KDF Parade Chairman’s Award for the most spirit. Belle of Louisville, Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, Indiana University Southeast, Kentuckiana Pride Foundation and Metro Parks & Recreation received Honorable Mention Awards.
Over 78,000 votes were cast in the People’s Choice online voting competition. Second Chance @ Life won the People’s Choice Float Award and LG&E’s “Louie the Lightning Bug” won the People’s Choice Inflatable Award.
The Seneca Valley Marching Band won the Grand Prize in the Basil Caummisar Battle of the Bands competition. Complex Collaboration Step Team 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 We are Friends with Equines of All Sizes. The first place award for Best Mounted Equestrian Unit went to Mid America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team. Best Non-Commercial Driven Unit was awarded to We Are Friends with Equines of All Sizes. Kentucky Hard 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.