This year marked the third time my wife and I attended the 500 Festival Parade in downtown Indianapolis. It’s become an annual date tradition for us — partly to see the floats and bands, partly for the famous names, and partly because downtown Indianapolis is a much livelier place when it’s overrun by happy visitors. (Our 2012 photo collection is still available in the MCC archives for value-added flashback viewing.)
Unlike last year’s sunny weather and soaring temperatures that posed a physical challenge to some patrons, this year was cloudy with temps in the low 60s — cool, relaxing, and painless, just the way we like it. I was surprised to see only two food trucks downtown this time (kudos to the NY Slice and the Edwards Drive-In Dashboard Diner for their support), but elated to see a steady turnout of parade watchers nonetheless.
The next five entries (to be posted over Memorial Day Weekend as quickly as time and endurance permit) represent a fraction of the pics my wife and I snapped. In many cases, encores and additional takes of specific subjects may be available if anyone out there is interested in seeing more, or is looking for a loved one who was in one of the many marching bands that day. For first-time MCC visitors, please note my wife and I are relative amateurs, obviously not trained professional photographers, sharing these from a hobbyist standpoint because of fun Internet joyfulness.
We launch with a few of the famous faces who came to town for this special occasion, and not just the Indianapolis 500, the self-billed Greatest Spectacle in Racing. First in line: actor Michael Pena, who I thought rocked in Crash and World Trade Center. He was in last year’s End of Watch and will be heard in DreamWorks’ upcoming animated film Turbo.
Driving the pace car this year at the 97th Indy 500 will be Jim Harbaugh, former Indianapolis Colts quarterback and now head coach for the San Francisco 49ers.
Also from the world of football: Colts punter Pat McAfee!
Also from the world of athletics: U.S. Olympic gymnast Jordyn Wieber.
Serving as this year’s 500 Festival Parade grand marshals: our city’s own WNBA team, the Indiana Fever. At far right is their mascot, Freddy Fever, species and home planet unknown.
Your representative ’80s musical act: Foreigner! Still hot-blooded and urgent after all these years.
Guy from Foreigner cannot believe you’re here! YOU! YES, YOU!
For country fans and reality TV viewers, Tate Stevens won season two of the American version of The X Factor. His debut album was released last month.
One of the Indy 500’s many hallowed traditions is the pre-race performance of “Back Home Again in Indiana” by hometown legend Jim Nabors, a.k.a. TV’s Gomer Pyle. The entire state was stunned when Nabors missed last year’s proceedings due to illness. (Conversely, one of our other annual 500 visitors, TV’s Florence Henderson, regrettably missed this year due to illness.)
David Soren is a veteran DreamWorks animator who directed two Madagascar TV specials and will be making his theatrical directing debut with Turbo, in theaters this summer.
I’m told Fort Wayne native Drake Hogestyn has been an integral part of the immortal soap opera Days of Our Lives for decades. He thwarted all our efforts to capture him; our best attempt was this Mad Men audition shot.
Windell Middlebrooks has been a recurring presence in a few different TV shows, most recently on Body of Proof, as well as commercial work for Miller Beer.
If you know anything about auto racing, you know this gentleman and racing-family patriarch: Mario Andretti.
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