Guest list for this year’s IPL 500 Festival Parade
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A Holocaust survivor, Hollywood stars, musicians, athletes and racing legends highlight this year’s 61st IPL 500 Festival Parade.
The parade is scheduled for Saturday, May 27, with festivities scheduled to start at 11:45 a.m.
Eva Kor, a Holocaust survivor who was recently presented with the Sachem Award, the state’s highest honor, will serve as the grand marshal. Platinum-selling rock band X Ambassadors will headline the parade’s opening entertainment with a theme that fits Kor’s inspirational journey: a passion for fighting throughout obstacles and overcoming challenges.
Other notable guests include actor and comedian David Alan Grier, gymnast Madison Kocian, Pacers guard/forward Glenn Robinson III and Lyn St. James, the first female driver to win the Rookie of the Year award for the Indianapolis 500.
The parade is one of the nation’s largest, drawing more than 300,000 annually downtown to see Indy 500 drivers, celebrities, floats and marching bands.
Here’s a look at the guest list:
Eva Kor: 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. She is a resident of Terre Haute, Ind. where she co-founded the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
X Ambassadors: The platinum-selling rock band released their debut album, VHS, in 2015, where it debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and has been certified gold by the RIAA. The album features the platinum selling, No. 1 song, “Renegades,” as well as the single, “Unsteady,” which climbed the Billboard Hot 100 and is featured in the feature film and soundtrack for “Me Before You.” Hailing from Ithaca, N.Y., X Ambassadors is a guitar-driven rock band whose music features a unique sampling of soul and hip-hop. The group consists of lead vocalist Sam Harris, keyboardist Casey Harris, lead guitarist Noah Feldshuh, and drummer Adam Levin.
David Alan Grier: A native of Detroit, Grier is best known for his work on the sketch comedy television show In Living Color. He began his professional career on Broadway as Jackie Robinson in “The First,” for which he earned a Tony nomination. He also appeared in numerous television shows in the early 2000s before he created, wrote, and starred in Comedy Central’s “Chocolate News.” Grier is also included on Comedy Central’s list of the “100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time.” He will return to TV on May 31 for the season three premiere of the NBC hit show, The Carmichael Show.
Madison Kocian: American gymnast Madison Kocian is a member of the gold-winning 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, nicknamed “The Final Five.” Kocian helped the U.S. women win team gold at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the USA’s second-straight Olympic gymnastics team title. She also won the uneven bars silver medal, the first U.S. Olympic uneven bars medal since 2008. In 2015, Kocian made gymnastics history when she was part of a four-way tie for the 2015 World uneven bars gold medal. She also helped the USA to its third-consecutive World team title with her performances at the 2015 World Championships. In 2014, Kocian made her World Championships debut in Nanning, China, where the USA also won the team title.
Nathan Kress: Known around the world for his lead role on Nickelodeon’s hit show “iCarly,” Nathan played Freddie Benson, Carly’s smitten next-door neighbor and technical producer of her web show. He has also been involved in feature films like “Into the Storm” and “Babe: Pig in the City,” and had a recurring role on “The Jimmy Kimmel Show.”
Glenn Robinson III: A Gary, Ind. native, Glenn Robinson III is a guard for the Indiana Pacers and most recently won the 2017 NBA Slam Dunk Contest with a perfect score. Since joining the Pacers in 2015, Robinson III has quickly become an Indianapolis fan favorite as his role on the team continues to increase. He finished the 2016-2017 season averaging 6.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
General Robert B. Abrams: General Abrams is a four-star general currently serving as the 22nd Commanding General of the U.S. Army Forces Command. General Abrams has served our country since May of 1982 upon graduation of the U.S. Military Academy. In his 35 years, General Abrams has commanded at every level from Company through Division, including Commanding General of the 3rd Infantry Division, and has led units in combat operations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Major General Courtney P. Carr: Major General Carr is the Adjutant General of Indiana. He was appointed on June 1, 2015, and primarily serves in leadership of the Indiana Army and Air National Guard, the Indiana Guard Reserve, and state employees all totaling over 15,800 personnel to meet state and federal missions. General Carr also began his career upon graduation of the U.S. Military Academy in May of 1983, one year after Abrams.
Major General Andrew P. Poppas: Major General Poppas assumed duties as the Commander, 101st Airborne Division on January 19, 2017. A native of Janesville, Wisconsin, MG Poppas graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1988 before receiving his Master’s from Kansas State and graduating from the Defense Language Institute of the Hellenic War College in Greece. He was also a 2011 National Security Fellow at Harvard University. Poppas’ command assignments are plenty, including Deputy Commanding General for Operations, 101st Airborne Division, Air Assault from July 2012 to July 2014, including duty in Afghanistan from February 2013 to February 2014. His awards include two Bronze Star medals, the Defense Superior Service medal, and a Purple Heart, to name a few.
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.
Governor Eric Holcomb: Governor Holcomb has served as the 51st Governor of Indiana since January of 2017. Prior to his election, he was the Lieutenant Governor under former Governor and now Vice President, Mike Pence. Holcomb is a born-and-raised Hoosier. A graduate of Pike High School and Hanover College, he spent his entire childhood in Indiana before serving in the Navy for six years and working in Washington D.C. for another six. He later returned to Indiana to serve as an advisor to Governor Mitch Daniels in 2003. Holcomb was sworn into office on January 9 of this year.
Mayor Joe Hogsett: A Rushville, Ind. native and Indiana University graduate, Hogsett is also a born-and-raised Hoosier. After graduating from Indiana, Hogsett received graduate degrees from Butler University and the Christian Theological Seminary, later earning his law degree from Indiana, as well. In 1989, Hogsett was appointed to the position of Secretary of State in Indiana, vacated by Evan Bayh, where he would remain until 1994. He later served as the chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party and was later nominated by President Barack Obama to be the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana before being unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He resigned in 2014 to run for Mayor of Indianapolis. He won in November of 2015.