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Sunday Pegasus Parade-goers: Here’s your guide

The festival's inflatable Pegasus leads the 2016 parade.
Courtesy Kentucky Derby Festival
The festival's inflatable Pegasus leads the 2016 parade.

The 2022 Pegasus Parade theme is “Loving Louisville,” and it features some pretty big deal local guests. 

Ethan the Dog and Virginia Moore, the governor’s beloved American Sign Language interpreter got a lot of shine in the last few years, and they’re some of the local celebrities in this year’s parade. The Bellarmine University Knights championship basketball team, local dance teams, marching bands and inflatable characters, plus Mayor Greg Fischer and Ky. Gov. Andy Beshear, will also be part of this year’s parade. 

“The community” is this year’s parade grand marshal, Kentucky Derby Festival spokesperson Aimee Boyd told WFPL News.

“We’re just celebrating the city of Louisville,” she said.

The most important thing to know is the parade is on a new day and at a new time.

The Pegasus Parade, as most know it, has been on hiatus since 2019 due to the pandemic. In past years, it’s been the Thursday before Derby. But this year’s event will be Sunday at 3 p.m.

Boyd said they moved the parade to Sunday after getting feedback from community members.

“We learned, when we went into the community last spring and took our touring parade around the community, we heard from so many who said, ‘We've always wanted to see the parade, but we couldn't come downtown on a work day at rush hour,’” Boyd said.

Boyd said they wanted to “bring it back in a way that really is for the whole community.” And after conversations with community and faith leaders, they landed on Sunday afternoon.

As per tradition, this year’s parade will travel west along Broadway from Campbell to Ninth streets with the festival’s “big Pegasus, inflatable leading the way.”

WAVE 3 will broadcast the event. But if you plan to go, here are a few things to know:

Do you need to buy or reserve spots?

You don’t, but you can. 

People are welcome to set up anywhere along the parade route free of charge. Boyd recommended getting there early to ensure a good spot. 

“Usually, a couple hours before the parade, folks will start coming down, setting up their lawn chairs and blankets along the sidewalks which you can do.”

It will take about two hours to see the entire parade. 

Bleacher seating is available for $10 from Hancock to Sixth streets along Broadway. There are also VIP seating options at $25 and $35 per spot. All of that information can be found here

Road closures and parking:

Streets start closing around 1 p.m. Sunday, and a lot of them will be blocked off. Here’s a full list of road closures. 

There will be parking in the downtown area, but Boyd said it might be wise to “park a little bit further away from Broadway” if you’re up for a walk. That will make for a more efficient exit.

There are areas where you cannot park, included here on this list.

Boyd said the parade has been known to draw large crowds and, with all of the road closures, traffic can get bogged down. 

“Bring your patience,” she suggested in terms of navigating the logistics of getting to and from the parade. 

What you can and can’t bring:

Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are welcomed and recommended. 

And prepare for Louisville’s fickle weather. That means sunscreen, sunglasses, hat and maybe a raincoat because the parade is a rain or shine situation – so long as the weather doesn’t get severe. 

Boyd said leave tents or any setup that could obstruct others’ view at home.

“You want to be conscious that everybody's there to see the parade,” she said. 

A quick history lesson:

The first Pegasus Parade was in 1956 done with the humble budget of $640, according to the Kentucky Derby Festival website. It’s the founding event of the festival.

“Dubbed the ‘Pegasus’ Parade for the winged horse of Greek mythology, the first event was to symbolize the magic, energy and excitement the infant festival was hoped to generate,” the website reads.

“It was created to give a way for the community, folks no matter the size of their pocketbook, a way to celebrate leading up to the Kentucky Derby horse race,” Boyd said. 

Now the Kentucky Derby Festival has more than 70 events spread out over weeks, Boyd continued.

Some big names have served as grand marshal of the parade, including actor William Shatner, singer Cyndi Lauper, music legend Gladys Knight, celebrity chef Bobby Flay and Louisville’s own Muhammad Ali.

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