Fairfield’s Cincinnati Tradition selected to perform in AES 500 Festival Parade

The Cincinnati Tradition's brass line and front ensemble is seen here. CONTRIBUTED

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The Cincinnati Tradition's brass line and front ensemble is seen here. CONTRIBUTED

The Cincinnati Tradition Drum and Bugle Corps from Fairfield will travel to Indianapolis to perform in the AES 500 Festival Parade that kicks off the Indianapolis 500 weekend.

The 500 Festival Parade traditionally takes place the day before the Indianapolis 500 race. The parade features floats, balloons, marching bands from across the country, the 33 competing drivers and more.

“The 500 is honored to host these talented bands as part of the 2022 AES 500 Festival Parade, a tradition we have dearly missed the past two years,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “We are thrilled to have these bands fill the streets of downtown Indianapolis with music in celebration of the return of race weekend’s biggest celebration.”

The Cincinnati Tradition is an inclusive band corps that recruits members from about a three and a half hour radius with performers ranging from 11- to 32-years old.

Outside of the 500 Festival Parade, Cincinnati Tradition typically competes in nine live competitions across the country and four video competitions.

Although the band corps is no stranger to performing in front of thousands of people, this is the group’s first time marching in the 500 Festival Parade.

“It really is an amazing opportunity just to be selected for something like this,” said Andrea Meyer, executive director of Cincinnati Tradition. “National eyes turn on Indianapolis that weekend. It’s an amazing experience.”

Meyer, who has been a part of the band corps since its founding in 1986, actually applied for the festival on accident. After hearing about the 500 Festival Parade from one of the band’s members, she sought out more details but ended up filling out an application.

“The next thing I know I got a letter of acceptance saying that you’ve been chosen to be a part of the parade which was a pleasant surprise,” Meyer said. “I didn’t realize I was actually applying to be in it, and I’m so glad that they chose us.”

The Cincinnati Tradition, along with 14 other bands, will perform its arrangements honoring this year’s theme: “Back to Traditions. Racing Forward” down the two-mile parade route. It will be marching with more than 60 performers which comprise the color guard, brass line, and battery percussion. The front ensemble will not be performing, but they will still attend and walk.

The band corps will perform a patriotic composition, and the drumline will perform a featured cadence composed by percussion director Aaron Farris.

Jessie Tawny, the co-captain of the color guard, was especially excited when she found out they would be performing. An Indianapolis native, Tawny performed in the parade all four years of high school and once in 2013 with the Troopers Drum Corps.

“We used to go to the parade every year when I was little and [my mom] still sits in the same spot, so my whole family is going to be sitting and watching us,” Tawny said.

Tawny is excited that the Cincinnati Tradition is getting the recognition they work so hard for.

“I feel like we have just been this tiny drum corps that no one’s heard of for so long,” Tawny said. “Now it’s rewarding to finally be like, ‘we’re here!’ People can see us. People know who we are finally, and we’re not just doing this for no one anymore.”

The 500 Festival Parade takes place Saturday in downtown Indianapolis at the corner of North and Pennsylvania streets. The parade begins at noon and will be broadcasted nationally on Peacock. Tickets for the parade can be purchased on the 500 Festival website or by calling (317) 614-6400.

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