The 500 Festival is a non-profit organization which, in its own words, serves “to advocate and celebrate the history, heritage and legacy of the Indianapolis 500”. Since 1957 this organization, through its members and affiliates, has organized parades, dances, and community events in order to help shine the light on the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. The Indy 500, in many ways, has helped shape the destiny of Indianapolis and its citizens. The founders of the festival were very much aware of the symbiotic relationship between the citizens of Indianapolis and the world’s most famous auto race.
The 500 Festival events are expected to draw nearly 500,000.00 spectators and participants in 2010. People from around the country and around the world show up in Indianapolis each year to be a part of these very special festivities. The four main events which make up the festival are the Mini Marathon (May 8th, 2010), the 500 Festival Community Day (May 26th, 2010), the 500 Festival Parade (May 29, 2010), and the Snake Pit Ball (May 29, 2010).
Each year the Festival designates a theme by which participants and guests can rally together in honor of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. In 2010 the theme will be “Embrace the Pace” in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is not, however, the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Because the race did not run during World Wars I and II, a total of six years passed without any action at the world famous oval. This year will be the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
The Mini Marathon (May 8th, 2010) is the largest mini in the United States and the fifth largest running event in the world. Nearly 90 thousand people show up to this event where 35,000 competitors roll, walk and run the 13.1 miles, which partially navigates the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway before returning to the beautiful downtown streets of Indianapolis.
The 500 Festival Community Day (May 26th, 2010) held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a family friendly event, where children are not only welcome, but expected. Drive the family truckster around the world famous track where the legends of racing made their mark. Listen to world famous bands perform live on stage. Tour the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Tour the race care transport trailers. See the official timing and scoring booth in the Pagoda. Photo opportunities and autographs from championship racecar drivers are all part of the fun waiting for you and your family at Community Day at the IMS. Tickets for the event can be purchased at gates #2 and #10. Adult tickets are $7.00 and children under the age of 6 are free. The event begins at 9:00 A.M. and runs until 6:00 P.M. Don’t miss your chance to join in all the fun.
The 500 Festival Parade (May 29, 2010), held on the Saturday immediately prior to the 500 Mile Race, electrifies the streets of downtown Indianapolis as the stars of Indy join with other celebrities from around the country and around the world to celebrate the worlds greatest spectacle in racing. Bleachers and reserved seating are available and secured by the purchase of a ticket. Tickets for adults can be purchased for $18.00 for reserved chairs or $14.50 for reserved bleacher seats.
The Snake Pit Ball (May 29, 2010), an annual event taking place on the eve of race day, is a star studded black tie gala held at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. Beginning at 6:30 on May 29, 2010, celebrities and fans will dine and dance the night away to the music of the fabulous Grammy Award Winning trio, The Pointer Sisters. This event is hosted by Paul and Cindy Skjodt, owners of the Indiana Ice minor league hockey team. Phone (317) 927-3378 for ticket information.