The Kentucky Derby has many great and storied traditions, and one of them is the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade, as reported by Patrick T. Sullivan and Harold J. Adams of the Courier-Journal.
On Thursday, the 58th annual march featured over 100 floats and passed through 17 blocks of Broadway in downtown Louisville, beginning at approximately 5 p.m. 270,000 attendees were present to take part in the festivities.
The theme was "Now, That's Entertainment," which was explained beforehand to Sullivan and Adams' colleague Christa Ritchie by the festival's vice president of communications, Amy Boyd:
We want the parade participants to embrace their own favorite form of entertainment and decorate their units accordingly. We’re sure they’ll be some crowd favorites... We’re excited to see how they’re all decorated
Among the more than 70 events that precede the Run for the Roses, the Pegasus Parade serves as the Kentucky Derby Festival's oldest event. Leading the way in the two-hour parade was the iconic Pegasus float, which was renamed the Peggy Bank last year, according to Ritchie.
This particular occasion, though, served as an opportunity to celebrate not only the horse race, but also the success of the University of Louisville basketball programs.
Both teams served as Grand Marshal for the parade, and rode on fire engines as the raucous crowd showered them all with positive pandemonium.
They accepted the opportunity to give back to the city with open arms, as documented by the Kentucky Derby Festival's Twitter page:
Head coach Rick Pitino led the men's squad on a dominant run in the NCAA Tournament, weathering the madness of March to capture the title in an 82-76 victory over the University of Michigan. Meanwhile, the women were national runners-up.
Celebrities always frequent the parade as well, and reality TV star Janelle Pierzina of Big Brother took to Twitter to express the great time she had after cruising down Broadway:
Kentucky Derby Festival president Mike Berry captured actor Jason Biggs with some of the men's basketball team just before the Pegasus Parade got underway:
The festival as a whole is completely responsible for raising its own funds, and a substantial part of that with regard to the Pegasus Parade is the selling of Pegasus Pins.
These pins are sold for five dollars, and while sales aren't final as of yet the parade dished out over 250,000 of them last year. The proceeds allow for the festival to put on free events for the public, which gives many people the incentive to pitch in and even collect a valuable souvenir.
It was yet another successful parade for the not-for-profit celebration. The boosted morale provided by the presence of Louisville's beloved basketball teams, combined with the anticipation for the Derby itself, made this jaunt down Broadway truly memorable.
Note: All information, unless otherwise indicated, is courtesy of KDF.com.