Jordan Smith, winner of season 9 of NBC's hit competition show The Voice, will serve as grand marshal of the 2016 Republic Bank Pegasus Parade. The 2016 Pegasus Parade will march down Broadway on Thursday, May 5. This family-friendly annual event showcases some of the nation's finest marching bands and equestrian units, along with inflatable characters and colorful floats.
"Our list of grand marshals is a who's who of notable Kentuckians, and we are thrilled to add Jordan to the top of that list," Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO Mike Berry said. "He joins a long line of Kentuckians who are making our Commonwealth proud in many walks of life. He'll no doubt have everyone singing as he makes his way down the parade route."
Over the years, the Pegasus Parade has featured a wide variety of celebrities, including Grand Marshals such as Muhammad Ali, John Wayne, Loretta Lynn, William Shatner, Bill Monroe, Diane Sawyer, Colonel Harland Sanders, Rick Pitino, John Calipari, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and the 2013 University of Louisville Men's and Women's Basketball teams. 2013 saw both teams play for the NCAA Championship with the men's team returning to Louisville with a Championship title and the women's team taking the runner-up position.
Originating in 1956 on a budget of only $640, the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade is the Kentucky Derby Festival's oldest event. Today, the Pegasus Parade is one of the largest in the country, contributing an estimated impact of more than $22 million to the local economy.
A committed Christian, Smith's rendition of "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" during week two of "The Voice" made Smith the first artist of the season to reach No. 1 on the iTunes pop songs chart, ahead of "Hello" by Adele. "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" landed on the Billboard magazine charts as well; it placed at No. 30 on the Hot 100, and was No. 1 on the Christian Songs chart for two straight weeks. He was again No. 1 on Christian Songs with his recording of "Hallelujah", which entered the Hot 100 chart at No. 61.