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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The 58th annual Pegasus Parade, the Kentucky Derby Festival's oldest event, marched down Broadway this evening in near perfect weather conditions. The parade attracted a crowd estimated at 270,000 to downtown streets.
The University of Louisville Marching Band performed to kick off this year's parade, with the University of Louisville men's and women's basketball teams serving as Grand Marshals.
Supporters of Norton Healthcare were cheering down the parade route as their float took home the Addison McGhee Sweepstakes Award for best overall float.
CenterStage at the Jewish Community Center won the Board Chair's Award; Louisville International Film Festival won the President's Award; Second Chance@Life won the Grand Marshal's Award; Kosair Charities/Kosair Shriners won the Queen's Award and Chabad of Kentucky won the Chairman's Award. Grand Lodge of Kentucky, Hwang's Martial Arts, Kentuckiana Pride Festival and UAW Local 862 / Ford Louisville Assembly Plant received Honorable Mention Awards.
In the text-to-vote competition, Chabad of Kentucky won the People Choice Float Award and Stage One Family Theatre "Cowboy" won the People's Choice Inflatable Award.
The parade is known for its beautiful equestrian units. Grand Champion Equestrian Unit went to the American Side Saddle Association. The first place award for Best Mounted Equestrian Unit went to Hardin County 4-H Company B Equestrian Drill. Best Commercial Driven Equestrian Unit went to Wells Fargo Stage Coach; Non-Commercial Driven Unit was awarded to Friends of Equine of All Sizes - Miniatures. Seneca Valley Band won the Grand Prize in the Basil Caummisar Battle of the Bands competition. 610 Stompers won the Ray Wimberg Specialty Unit Award, LG&E won the Earl Ruby Inflatable Spirit Award and Young Guns 4-H Equestrian Drill Team won the Pooper Stars Award.
The Pegasus Parade – the Kentucky Derby Festival's founding event – is one of nearly 70 events produced by the Kentucky Derby Festival in the spring. The first parade was organized by just a handful of volunteers in 1956 on a budget of $640. It provides an estimated impact of $22 million to the area's economy. The Derby Festival is now an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation.