INDIANAPOLIS– Musicians, actors, hall of fame athletes and racing legends are among the first group of famous faces announced to be participating in the 63rdIPL 500 Festival Parade, scheduled for Saturday, May 25. TV host, Marc Summers; NFL Hall of Famer, Terrell Davis; Disney Channel actor, Jake Short; and Leave it to Beaver‘s Jerry Mathers are among the first group of announced celebrities and VIPs scheduled to appear in the IPL 500 Festival Parade.
NTT IndyCar Series Team Owner and philanthropist Sam Schmidt will serve as Grand Marshal of the 2019 IPL 500 Festival Parade. Country music duo, The Swon Brothers will headline the Parade’s opening production, before riding along the parade route. Also appearing will be the 33 starting drivers of the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500® presented by Gainbridge. Tickets for the 2019 IPL 500 Festival Parade are available for purchase at 500festival.com/tickets/.
Sam Schmidt – Grand Marshal: Sam Schmidt is the co-owner of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. He was an IndyCar driver when he sustained a C-3/4/5 spinal cord injury while practicing for the 2000 season opener at Walt Disney World Speedway. He’s since created Conquer Paralysis Now, a leading authority on spinal cord injury research and treatment. They are backed by an international coalition of doctors, research scientists and business leaders who share a singular goal: Finding a cure for paralysis.
While he lost the use of his limbs, Schmidt never lost his will or his passion for racing. In 2013, Schmidt partnered with Arrow Electronics to make his dream to drive again a reality. A team of engineers and medical researchers modified a car to be safely driven by Sam’s head movement. On May 18, 2014, Sam took the Semi-Autonomous Motor Car (SAM Car) to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he drove for the first time since his accident, reaching 97 MPH. Schmidt will drive the SAM Car in this year’s IPL 500 Festival Parade, marking the first time in the event’s history that the Grand Marshal has driven themselves along the route.
The Swon Brothers: The Swon Brothers, the popular country music duo who first appeared on Blake Shelton’s team on NBC’s The Voice, are the opening performers for the IPL 500 Parade. They will first perform the National Anthem before performing their Top 15 HIT “Later on,” accompanied by Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders and the Indiana Pacemates during the opening production. After the opening production, the Swon Brothers will ride the parade route in the 500 Festival themed float, giving all fans the opportunity to see them in person. Zach and Colton received a CMA Award nomination for “Vocal Duo of the Year.” They received an ACM Award nomination for “Vocal Duo of the Year” followed by a CMT Music Award nomination for “Duo Video of the Year.” The Swon Brothers recently performed with Brad Paisley on his Country Nation World Tour and Carrie Underwood on her Storyteller Tour.
Marc Summers: Indianapolis native Marc Summers is a television personality, comedian, game show host, producer, and talk show host. He is currently Executive Producer and co-host of Nickelodeon’s Double Dare, a revival of the series that helped put him on the map in 1986. He also served as host of Unwrapped, one of the longest running series on the Food Network. Most recently, he was Executive Producer for both Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible also for Food Network. Summers is a graduate of North Central High School in Indianapolis.
Terrell Davis: Denver Broncos legend, NFL Hall of Famer, and entrepreneur Terrell Davis had a historic NFL career from 1995 to 2001. Davis is the Denver Broncos all-time leading rusher, with 7,607 rushing yards. Davis was sent to the Pro Bowl in the 1996, ’97, and ’98 seasons. Nicknamed “TD,” Davis popularized the “Mile High Salute,” a military-style salute given to fans and teammates in celebration of a touchdown. In 2006, Davis was inducted into the Breitbard Hall of Fame and into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2017.
Jake Short: Jake Short is an actor from Indiana. He has played the roles of Fletcher Quimby in Disney Channel’s comedy series A.N.T. Farm and Oliver in the Disney XD original series Mighty Med and Lab Rats: Elite Force. Since then, he was a lead on a Hulu show All Night as well as an independent movie now on Netflix, #Roxy. He recently filmed two independent movies that are in post-production: Supercool and This is the Year.
Domantas Sabonis: Domantas Sabonis just completed his second season with the Indiana Pacers and was one of the NBA’s top Sixth Men last season. Acquired by trade from Oklahoma City in 2017, Domantas played collegiately at Gonzaga. He is considered one of the rising young stars in the NBA and is a favorite among Pacers’ fans.
Jim Cornelison: Jim Cornelison is known in the sports world for singing “The National Anthem” at Chicago Blackhawks’ home games and major sporting events across the country. He also has captivated Indianapolis 500 fans for the last two years as the singer of “Back Home Again in Indiana”. He’ll appear in the 2019 IPL 500 Festival Parade before returning to perform the iconic song ahead of the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Lyn St. James: Lyn St. James is known for being the first female driver to win the Rookie of the Year award in the Indianapolis 500 (1992). St. James went on to start seven Indianapolis 500 races and was named one of Sports Illustrated for Women’s Top-100 Women Athletes of the Century. Now, St. James’ focus is motivational speaking revolving around doing the impossible, referencing her breaking into a sport previously dominated by men. She has been a coach and mentor to nearly 300 women drivers across the globe, including Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher.
Jerry Mathers: Jerry Mathers has been an actor on television, in movies and on stage since the age of 2 working with such notable celebrities as Bob Hope, Alfred Hitchcock, Shirley MacLaine, John Forsythe and many others. It was in 1957 however, with the debut of the series “Leave it to Beaver” that Jerry entered the hearts and homes of America and the world as Beaver Cleaver. An immediate success, the show ran for six seasons, with a total of 234 episodes which has made Jerry a fan favorite and an American icon.
One of the original 500 Festival events, the IPL 500 Festival Parade is one of the nation’s largest, most respected parades, consistently earning national acclaim alongside the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. More than 300,000 people will line the streets of downtown Indianapolis to experience the larger-than-life floats, giant helium balloons, celebrities, award-winning bands, and all 33 drivers competing in the 103rd Running of the Indy 500.
The 2019 IPL 500 Festival Parade will be themed “Your Tradition is Waiting in Our Own Brickyard.” In Indianapolis, the month of May means family, friends, and the 500. For more than 60 years, the IPL 500 Festival Parade has led the charge with our iconic community celebration. Each year builds on the foundation of the last, blending together old and new as the world gathers in the Circle City. Before the green flag drops at the starting line at the brickyard, the 33 drivers parade down the bricks of Monument Circle, admired by the youngest and more experienced race fans. There’s no way to describe the feeling of May until you have experienced it for yourself. But once you have, you’ll treasure the lifelong memories of the high-octane adventures the month brings.
The Lewis Cass Marching Kings of Walton, Ind. will be one of the marching bands participating in this year’s parade. (More info here.)
The 2019 IPL 500 Festival Parade will take place on Saturday, May 25. Parade festivities will start at 11:45 am ET in downtown Indianapolis. IPL 500 Festival Parade tickets start at $10 and can be purchased at 500festival.com/tickets, by calling (317) 614-6400, or at the 500 Festival Ticket Office, located at 21 Virginia Ave. in Downtown Indianapolis. The Ticket Office is open on weekdays from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.
The IPL 500 Festival Parade will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports and to the Indianapolis market on WTHR, Channel 13. For more information about the IPL 500 Festival Parade, please visit 500festival.com/parade or search #IPL500Parade on social media.
About the 500 Festival
Founded in 1957, the 500 Festival is a not-for-profit organization that produces more than 50 life-enriching events and programs while celebrating the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and fostering positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana. One of the largest festivals in the nation, each year more than half a million people attend an event or program produced by the 500 Festival. Since its founding, the 500 Festival has contributed more than $400 million in economic value to Indianapolis. To learn more about the 500 Festival, please visit www.500festival.com, follow us on Twitter @500festival, or on Facebook.