2024 AES 500 Festival Parade Float award winners


The 500 Festival has announced the float award winners for the 2024 AES 500 Festival Parade. Floats were judged on several different criteria and were evaluated by a panel of judges. The floats are awarded for recognition and tradition with no monetary prizes given. This annual competition brings prestige and recognition to the AES 500 Festival Parade, the float designers and partners.

The 2024 AES 500 Festival Parade float awards go to the following:  


  • Float: “Powering All Lanes to Indy” 
  • Sponsor: AES Indiana 

AES Indiana is the title sponsor for the 500 Festival Parade and has had a float in the parade since 1957 – the only company to participate in every 500 Festival Parade since its inception. The AES float embodies the theme “All Lanes Lead to Indy” and celebrates the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials, highlighting our city’s central role in this iconic moment while spotlighting AES’s commitment to sustainability and accelerating the future of energy together. 

CHAIRMAN’S AWARD: Most Entertaining  

  • Float: “Your Takeoff Begins in Indy” 
  • Sponsor: Republic Airways and LIFT Academy 

Republic Airways is an innovative aviation leader, operating nearly 1,000 daily flights — many of which depart from Indiana. LIFT Academy, founded in 2018 and with a specialized curriculum designed to fly graduates to a career at Republic Airways, is a commercial aviation flight program offering opportunities for those who dream of becoming a pilot, and those who may not have thought it possible. The plane aboard this float has a wingspan of 11 IndyCar tires back-to-back, reaching about 14 feet. 

500 FESTIVAL QUEEN SCHOLAR AWARD: Outstanding Presentation of Hoosier Spirit & Pride  

  • Float: “Makers of Medicine” 
  • Sponsor: Eli Lilly & Company 

Eli Lilly is a medicine company that has been pioneering life-changing discoveries for nearly 150 years. Its medicines help more than 55 million lives across the globe. Harnessing the power of biotechnology, chemistry and genetic medicine, Lilly scientists are urgently advancing new discoveries to solve some of the world’s most significant health challenges. This year’s float features key medicine makers and Lilly locations across the state. 

PRESIDENT’S AWARD: Most Original Concept  

  • Float: “Building Healthier Communities” 
  • Sponsor: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield / Elevance Health 

Since 1944, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has offered health benefit plans and support services to improve the health of all Hoosiers. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has invested more than $19.9 million in Indiana to fight food insecurity and health inequities – both of which are represented on this year’s float. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield focuses on the whole health of a person.

MARI HULMAN GEORGE AWARD: Best Display of Philanthropy, Arts, or Education 

  • Float: “The Sexton Properties INDYCAR” 
  • Sponsor: The Sexton Properties 

The Sexton Properties, founded in 1962, builds and manages apartment communities in the Midwest. The company’s first apartment community was built just minutes from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with one of their first tenants being A.J. Foyt. Their float this year is modeled after an IndyCar, sporting the Sexton Properties logo and the No. 14 in representation of their sponsorship of A.J. Foyt Racing.  

GRAND MARSHAL AWARD: Most Creative Concept & Execution 

  • Float: “A Monumental Milk Moment Since 1936” 
  • Sponsor: American Dairy Association of Indiana, Inc. 

Description: The American Dairy Association of Indiana’s float represents the milk that the 2024 Indy 500 winner will drink. Alex Neuenschwander and Abbie Herr of the ADAI will be on Victory Podium in representation of the 700 dairy farmers in Indiana. They will deliver milk to this year’s winning driver, chief mechanic and team owner at the Indianapolis 500. Winning drivers choose between ice cold whole, 2 percent or fat-free milk. 

CHECKERED FLAG AWARD: Honoring the Spirit and Legacy of the Indianapolis 500 

  • Float: “THIS IS MAY” 
  • Sponsor: Indianapolis Motor Speedway 

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is home to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. This intricate float focuses on the iconic symbols of May, including an IndyCar, the BorgWarner trophy and the IMS Pagoda. May is for the fans. May is for the spectacle. May is for the celebration. This Is May. Purchase tickets for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge at IMS.COM 

ROOKIE AWARD: Best First-Time Float Participant 

  • Float: “The Persistent Pursuit of the Next Giant Leap” 
  • Sponsor: Purdue University 

Purdue University is ranked among the top 10 most innovative public universities in the country. They are relentless in their pursuit of the next giant leap, including to Mars. This legacy made Purdue home to Amelia Earhart’s transformative work in flight and the alma mater of 27 Purdue graduates that have become astronauts, including Neil Armstrong. Now, Purdue is bringing that innovation and spirit to its new campus in Indianapolis — opening July 1. 

Tickets are still available for the AES 500 Festival Parade, taking place at noon May 25 at noon. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at 500festival.com/tickets or by calling 317-614-6400. 

For more, visit 500festival.com/parade.