The stars aligned for the 500 Festival parade, which promised a fairly high celebrity quotient and did not disappoint. Floats and cars, bands and marchers—they all moved swimmingly along the route that started on Pennsylvania Street downtown, wounded around Washington Street and Monument Circle, and then proceeded up Meridian Street.
>> See our photo gallery here of all the fun and famous.
+ Grand marshal Olivia Newton-John must have spoken with Florence Henderson beforehand, as both sported radiant all-white attire that made sense in light of the 85-degree heat.
+ All 33 drivers, finishing with Sunday’s Indy 500 pole sitter Ryan Briscoe, seemed genuinely thrilled to be there, with some of their family members and escorts recording the procession and fans on handheld videocams.
+ Dancing with the Stars participants Gladys Knight and Maria Menounos looked great, with the Pips frontwoman rocking black and chartreuse and the Extra TV host blazing the trail in a bright orange frock, her hunky DWTS partner Derek Hough as arm candy.
+ Arguably TV’s favorite mom of all time, Florence Henderson, a stalwart of the 500 and the parade, wore a sensible hat.
+ Ashley Judd also showed that this was hardly her first 500 Festival rodeo, rocking a shadowy hat and comfy dress alongside husband and IndyCar star Dario Franchitti, a two-time 500 champ.
+ It’s inspiring to see the military veterans and leaders, including the nation’s No. 2 ranking officer, Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr., receive such praise as the standing ovations and furious applause that met them along the route.
+ The keepers of the Confucius Institute’s golden dragon balloon had a tough time keeping their monster from capsizing. It made for compelling drama and was, in the end, well-handled by those on the lines.
Photos by Tony Valainis and Jonathan Scott