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This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

500 Festival Parade

May 26, 2018

Scott Dixon

500 Festival Parade

One of the longest running traditions of the Indianapolis 500 Festival is the annual 500 Festival Parade that runs a route through the streets of downtown Indianapolis on the Saturday afternoon prior to the race itself. A continuous tradition since the first parade which was held in 1957 the event is one of the centerpieces of the 500 Festival which hosts a month long series of events in conjunction with the Indy 500 each year during May. From the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon to the parade with countless events in between, the 500 Festival celebrates the city’s association with the great race every year.

The 500 Festival parade is the third largest and most prestigious parade in the nation after only the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and the Rose Parade and each year about 300,000 people line the streets to witness the excitement that is the parade. I have been attending off and on since I was a small child, my father’s office at the Indianapolis Star once overlooked the parade route and each year my parents would bring my sisters and I to watch from that excellent vantage point.

Kathy and Effie

Victor Olidipo

As an adult, I attend far less regularly though whenever I have out of town guests on hand for the race, I like to take them so they get the full flavor of the month of May. This year with an entire family joining us, we added it to our must do schedule and made our way from their downtown hotel to our favorite parade viewing spot in time to catch the start of the parade.

Tom and Caitlin

It was brutally hot for a parade, but we toughed it out through almost the full event, which featured the larger-than-life floats, giant helium balloons, celebrities and dignitaries, award-winning bands, and all 33 drivers competing in the Indy 500. The parade was notably a little short again on the celebrity factor, I think the most famous celebrity may have been the actor who portrayed the creature in “The Shape of Water”, but it was still fun to see the bands, balloons and other fun aspects of the parade.

To me, seeing the drivers is always fun, they often are accompanied by their wives, children, girlfriends or sometimes by members of the military or some other special guest. This year it was especially warm for them, but perhaps not as bad as it was going to be in the race the next day.

Graham Rahal and Courtney Force

In the morning prior to meeting up with our friends, I was out at the track early to attend the annual 500 memorabilia show which is held in the tower terrace pavilions every year just before the all-field autograph session- which is always a total zoo. I enjoy looking over the collectibles and historical artifacts from years gone by and walking around in the mostly empty garage and pits on the day prior to the race. I have a couple of friends who are vendors at the memorabilia show and you can always meet fellow race fans there as well.

Cale and Effie

I did not purchase anything at the show, of which I am sure that Kathy is happy about, though there were a few items that I considered. I am a sucker for certain items of which there were thankfully not too many of this year. It is still weird to me seeing stuff from races that I attended being considered vintage, but I guess attending something for forty-seven years makes me an antique.


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