IPL 500 Festival Parade

Pennsylvania Street
Pennsylvania Street
Indianapolis, IN 00000
United States

Event Description:

One of the original events produced by the 500 Festival, the IPL 500 Festival Parade has grown to be one of the signature events held in the United States each year. The Parade is the only 500 Festival event that has taken place every year since the organization’s founding in 1957. The 2017 IPL 500 Festival Parade will be held on May 27, the eve of the Indianapolis 500. 300,000 spectators are expected to line the streets of Indianapolis, joined by another one million watching from their televisions around the country, to view one of the nation’s premier parades, alongside the Pasadena Tournament of Roses and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The IPL 500 Festival Parade allows all spectators to witness the pageantry and larger-than-life floats light up the streets of downtown Indianapolis. Well-known celebrities, costumed characters, marching bands, patriotic units, specialty units, spectacular floats and giant helium balloons will fill the streets to celebrate the world’s largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500.

The tradition continues with the 33 starting drivers of the Indianapolis 500 serving as honorary grand marshals the day before the race, riding in the traditional rows of three, with the winner of the pole position bringing up the rear.

The Parade will be telecast locally on WTHR, Channel 13 and nationally on NBC Sports Network.


In 2017, we turn the corner on last year’s celebration that highlighted many milestones, including the 40th OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, the 60th IPL 500 Festival Parade and the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. It was a great year, but no one is waving the checkered flag just yet. With many laps still to go, May 2017 is a chance to refuel and punch the gas. And with this year’s celebration covered in star-spangled spirit, it’s sure to be an inspiring salute to America on Memorial Day Weekend. The 500 Festival’s 2017 theme, Accelerating the American Spirit, gives Hoosiers the green light to ignite that red, white and blue passion.

“In 2017, we move forward from a year of incredible milestones and take the next step in accelerating our May events into something even bigger and better,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “Our theme stresses that we’re not slowing down after a great year in 2016. Rather, we’re combining our love of speed and an appreciation for our country on Memorial Day Weekend in hopes that we’ll do just that; Accelerate the American Spirit. We invite all fans of May to join in the celebration that accompanies our rich history, and the greatest spectacle in racing.”

Each year, more than half a million people participate in the 500 Festival’s programs and events which showcase the city on a world stage. Race fans, Hoosiers, and everyone can start Accelerating the American Spirit by joining in the month-long calendar of events leading up to race weekend. Those events include the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, the IPL 500 Festival Parade, the KeyBank 500 Festival Snakepit Ball, and many more.

“’Accelerating the American Spirit’ is the perfect theme to remind everyone of the history and tradition of innovation and moving forward that exemplifies our community,” said Bill Henley, IPL Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and 500 Festival Board Member. “This will serve as a great platform for the 500 Festival and its community partners to focus on the patriotism and pride of this community that will be on full display this May.”



Arrive early downtown to give yourself plenty of time to find parking. Many Indianapolis city streets will be closed to traffic and public parking in preparation for the race. Several parking facilities will be open for event parking. Please keep in mind that due to street closings, not all routes into the various parking locations will be available. 

Here are a few downtown parking and traveling tips:

Arrive early and relax during peak exit times.

Parking is abundant. There are more than 66,000 parking spaces downtown.

Plan where you will park ahead of time.Plan your route ahead of time and carpool if possible. Prepare to park away from the event site.

Enter downtown from the side on which you plan to park and park facing the direction you intend to depart.

Plan to use a parking garage or lot. Metered parking is limited around special event areas.


Grand Marshall: 

va Kor has been named Grand Marshal of the 2017 IPL 500 Festival Parade.

The 61st IPL 500 Festival Parade will take place on Saturday, May 27. Tying into the theme for this year’s Parade, Accelerating the American Spirit, the opening performance by X Ambassadors, will celebrate “Renegades” from within our community who have overcome challenges to achieve great things. As Grand Marshal, Eva will lead Hoosiers in the celebration of the human spirit.

Eva Mozes Kor is a survivor of the Holocaust and forgiveness advocate. At the age of 10 she entered Auschwitz where she was separated from most of her family. She and her twin sister were subjected to unthinkable medical experiments and fought daily for their own survival until the camp was eventually liberated. Kor’s experiences in Auschwitz, coupled with her never-give-up attitude, led her to a life of advocacy work, teaching remembrance, understanding, and hope.

A resident of Terre Haute, Ind., Eva co-founded the organization, CANDLES (Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiment Survivors) as well as the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, also located in Terre Haute. Remarkably, after her internment at Auschwitz, Eva publicly forgave the Nazis. Eva works tirelessly, dedicating her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and working toward goals of forgiveness, peace, and the elimination of hatred and prejudice in the world.

To honor her extraordinary work, Eva Kor has been named Grand Marshal of the 61st IPL 500 Festival Parade. Indiana Governor, Eric Holcomb, in concert with officials from the 500 Festival and IPL surprised Eva by announcing her selection as this year’s Grand Marshal during her Sachem Award ceremony on April 13. The Sachem Award is Indiana’s highest honor.

“Eva Mozes Kor is a hero and the ultimate Renegade. Despite a childhood that was consumed by utter devastation, she decided to live her life based in hope, forgiveness, courage and selflessness,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “Eva’s compassion, resilience and spirit is an inspiration to us all. We are proud to have her serve as the Grand Marshal of the 2017 IPL 500 Festival Parade and we can’t wait to celebrate her!”



Tickets to the 2017 IPL 500 Festival Parade are now available!

You can purchase your tickets at the "Buy Tickets" link or by calling (317)-614-6400.

Band Line Up: 


(Indiana Army National Guard (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Headquartered on the southwest side of Indianapolis, the 38th Infantry Division Band is the only military band in the state of Indiana and serves as the musical ambassadors for the Indiana National Guard.


(Marshall County, Ind.)
This marching band represents all 6 band programs in Marshall County. With over 200 members involved, this band is a collaboration between Plymouth, Bremen, LaVille, Triton, Culver, and Argos High Schools.


(Goshen, Ind.)

The Goshen High School Band is proud to be a well-balanced band program that serves the community of Goshen, Indiana. The Crimson Marching Band has had a long tradition of musical excellence, winning 14 combined titles in 2015 and 2016.


(Indianapolis, Ind.)

The Decatur Central Marching Band has performed at several State and National events including the Indiana State Marching Band Championships, the Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia.


National Band Association (LaPorte, Ind.)

The Indiana All-Star Band was organized in 1998 and is composed of representatives from some of the finest high school bands throughout the state of Indiana. The band is organized specifically to perform in the 500 Festival Parade and this year marks their 20th consecutive appearance.


(Indianapolis, Ind.)

The Indianapolis 500 Gordon Pipers have been a fixture at the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and throughout the Midwest since 1962. The band’s common cause is to promote and share with the public the heritage of Scottish/Celtic culture and music.


(Indianapolis, Ind.)

The Indianapolis Public Schools All City Marching Band is the premier musical performance group that represents all nine IPS High School programs. Made up of elite players and performers, the IPS All City Marching Band continues a proud tradition of performing excellence for Indianapolis.


(Kokomo, Ind.)

The Kokomo Marching WildKats earned the title of State Champion Runner-Up in 2016, and a 3rd-place finish in 2015. In July of 2017, the Marching WildKats will be representing the State of Indiana in the Washington DC “Independence Day” Parade.


(West Lafayette, Ind.)

Established in 1886, the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band has become an icon of Purdue University. This world-renowned band performs at each home football game and travels to concerts and festivals around the world, including China, Ireland, and Colombia.


(Speedway High School (Speedway, Ind.)

The Speedway 500 Regiment is located about a mile away from IMS. This band competes in ISSMA Concert Band Contest and many members are part of the Jazz Band which competes in the ISSMA Jazz contest. The students are always excited to represent their town year after year.


(Kokomo, Ind.)

The Northwestern High School TIGER PRIDE Band consists of nearly 100 members in grades 8-12. The band has a long history of performing in ISSMA Marching, Concert, and Jazz events. The TIGER PRIDE recently returned from a 2017 trip where they performed in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.


(Aurora, Ill.)

The Blackhawk Marching Band is a spirited and energetic ensemble focused on representing West Aurora High School and District 129. The band boasts 295 members and is a mainstay at many town festivals and parades.


(Russiaville, Ind.)

This is the 3rd appearance of the Western Marching Panthers in the IPL 500 Festival Parade. The band is the current ISSMA Class C Indiana State Champion and earned a total of 16 State Titles. The band has earned consistent Gold Ratings in Concert Band Group I over the past 20 years.



Naval Service Training Command’s mission of transforming volunteers into twenty-first-century Sailors, Navy Band Great Lakes, under the direction of Lieutenant Geordie Kelly, performs 350 musical engagements annually for millions of Americans across the Midwest. As the “Ambassadors to the Midwest,” Navy Band Great Lakes’ primary responsibility is supporting Navy outreach in an eleven-state area, stretching from Michigan to Missouri, North Dakota to Kansas, and every Midwestern state in between.