LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 2, 2014) – A crowd estimated at 200,000 bundled up Thursday night to watch as the Kentucky Derby Festival’s oldest event – the 59th annual Republic Bank Pegasus Parade – marched down Broadway in chilly and windy conditions. In honor of this year’s parade theme “Call of the Wild,” Jeff Corwin, host of ABC’s “Ocean Mysteries” was the theme marshal. Actor Josh Hopkins, Lexington-born star of “Cougar Town” was named the Kentucky Marshal.
Other celebrities who appeared in the parade included: actor Jonathan Kite of CBS’s “Two Broke Girls;” actor Geoff Stults of “Enlisted” on FOX; Actor Jon Seda of NBC’s “Chicago P.D.;” actor Keith Robinson of the upcoming James Brown movie “Get On Up;” Damaris Phillips of the Food Network’s “Southern at Heart;” country music stars J.D. Shelburne and Olivia Henken; actress Josie Davis; Mark and Matthew Harris of A&E’s “Storage Wars;” Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri; and Miss Kentucky 2014 Jenna Day.
This year’s parade featured more than 100 units, including 15 floats, 16 equestrian units, one camel, 6 inflatables, 11 marching bands, two push floats and 28 specialty units.
Supporters of Norton Healthcare were cheering down the parade route as their float took home the Addison McGhee Sweepstakes Award for best overall float. CenterStage at the Jewish Community Center won the Board Chair’s Award; Second Chance @ Life won the President’s Award; Kosair Charities/Kosair Shriners won the Grand Marshal’s Award; Grand Lodge of Kentucky won the Queen’s Award and the Louisville Zoo won the Chairman’s Award. Hwang’s Martial Arts, Centennial Festival of Riverboats, “Produce” with Angels in Disguise, Kentuckiana Pride Festival, ResCare/Signature HealthCare, S.O.C.K.S., Inc., and Metro Parks and Recreation received Honorable Mention Awards.
In the text-to-vote competition, “Produce” with Angels in Disguise won the People’s Choice Float Award and Republic Bank’s “Peggy Bank” won the People’s Choice Inflatable Award.
The parade is known for its beautiful equestrian units. Grand Champion Equestrian Unit went to the American Side Saddle Association. The first place award for Best Mounted Equestrian Unit went to Hardin County 4-H Company B Equestrian Drill Team. Best Commercial Driven Equestrian Unit went to Wells Fargo Stage Coach; Best Non-Commercial Driven Unit was awarded to Midstates Mule & Donkey Society. North Allegheny High School won the Grand Prize in the Basil Caummisar Battle of the Bands competition. Curie’s Advanced Dance Company won the Ray Wimberg Specialty Unit Award, LG&E with “Louie the Lightning Bug” 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. The Derby Festival is now an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation.