This month the Indy 500 Festival kicked off with one of its premier events, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. During its 56th year, the festival will continue to showcase many events for the community to enjoy.
The festival’s 2013 theme is TurboCharging Indy. The theme highlights the role the 500 Festival plays in creating energy and vitality for the community on an annual basis.
Megan Bulla, communications manger of the Indy 500 Festival, says this event draws people from everywhere.
“Indianapolis is largely defined by the historic Indianapolis 500, and the grand community festival that surrounds it,” said Bulla. “With nearly 50 annual events and programs, the 500 Festival fuels the entire magical month of May.”
According to Bulla, the festival offers a wide variety of cultural, educational and social events, which touch more than 500,000 people annually.
The Indy 500 Festival will host 50 programs and events. Here are some highlights taking place at this year’s celebration.
The Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day and Rookie Run is May 11. With more than 40,000 people in attendance, Kids’ Day is the state’s largest free outdoor festival for children. Families can interact with local mascots, race mini cars, bounce in giant inflatables and create arts and crafts. Children can also visit with nationally known characters or make sashes with the 500 Festival Princesses. Dozens of exhibitors will fill Monument Circle and surrounding streets with food, fun and educational games.
The 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard will honor Indiana mayors on May 18 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Guests will enjoy a hearty Hoosier breakfast, take a lap around the famed oval in their vehicle (weather permitting), tour the garages and experience Pole Day Qualifying for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 (immediately following the event).
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard will salute Hoosier mayors from across the state in celebration of the month of May in Indiana. In addition, the 2013 500 Festival Queen will be crowned. This event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Plaza Pavilion is open to the public. Tickets are $60.
American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day on May 22 provides an insider’s look at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The event gives people the opportunity to drive their vehicle on the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. In addition to driving on the track, visitors may tour the IndyCar car transport trailers, visit Pit Lane, check out the vintage cars on display, get autographs from Pro Series drivers and past champions.
A Memorial Service will take place May 24 from noon to 1 p.m. on the north steps of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis. A wreath-laying ceremony dedicated to the memory of all Hoosiers in wars and conflicts will honor those who sacrificed their lives in defense of the nation. The names of those Indiana servicemen and women who have fallen within the past year will be read aloud. Notable guest speakers will include 500 Festival Chairman of the Board Ted Dickman, Mayor Greg Ballard and Gov. Mike Pence.
The 500 Festival Parade is May 25 starting at noon at North and Pennsylvania streets. The parade allows all spectators to witness the pageantry and giant floats as they travel along the streets of downtown Indianapolis. Well-known celebrities, costumed characters, marching bands, patriotic units, specialty units, spectacular floats and giant helium balloons will fill the streets to celebrate. Reserved bleacher seats are $14.50; reserved chair seats are $19 and VIP seating is $32.
The parade route begins at North and Pennyslvania streets, goes south on Pennsylvania to Washington Street, west on Washington to Meridian and north on Meridian to 11th Street.
The Snake Pit Ball will take place May 25 at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. Tickets are $275 for a night filled with rocking music presented by Cindy and Paul Skjodt. Attendees will be rocking to the music of British-American rock band Foreigner. With a career spanning five decades, Foreigner has sold more than 70 million albums in the US including nine Top 10 and 16 Top 30 hits.
For more events and event information visit 500festival.com.