CityBeat: Civic Celebrations For 100th Indy 500

Read What’s Activities Are Happening To Commemorate The Race’s Milestone Year.


JW Marriott_Epic Race Epic Place_Graphic

When a month won’t do, how about 100 days? That’s what the Indianapolis Motor Speedway decided, kicking off the 100th anniversary celebration exactly 100 days out.

The 500 Festival, the non-profit that’s long served Indianapolis with month-of-May events around the city and the state, commissioned a special 100th Running Committee to provide additional awareness and events outside of race day.  500 Festival board chair Patty Martin knows that the race is more than just a one-day sporting event – it’s a month-long celebration of civic pride.

“I was raised in Wabash, Ind., and I remember never having the opportunity to go to the race but always listening to ‘Back Home Again in Indiana,’” she said. “You always felt the race was a part of you, right? If you’re part of the state of Indiana, you’re part of this, and (the 100th) will give folks all over the state a chance to reconnect.”

Here’s what’s happening outside of Race Day in the community.

Ongoing Events

  • Porch Parties – the hyper-local engagement initiative from the 500 Festival 100th Running Committee, encourages Indiana residents in every corner of the state to do just that – have a party that brings a neighborhood together. Groups and individuals that register their Porch Parties could get a visit from drivers and other IndyCar celebrities. The 500 Festival will host two public Porch Parties, listed below.

porch party

  • If you’ve flown out of the Indianapolis International Airport, you’ve no doubt seen signage and even a current or vintage Indy car throughout the concourse.
  • Even more noticeable is the gigantic Borg-Warner Trophy on the JW Marriott Similar to images of the Lombardi Trophy for the Super Bowl and the brackets for the Final Four last year, the gigantic image will display all month long.
  • Welcome Race Fans, an initiative by the Arts Council of Indianapolis, places artwork from 33 Indiana artists (to represent the 33 cars in the starting field) throughout the city, as a “Welcome to Indianapolis” from the arts community.

May 6th

Porch Party at the Harrison Center for the Arts with live music, vintage race cars, food trucks, and 500 Festival artwork.

May 7th

The One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon celebrates its 40th running, including the famous loop through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of the runners’ route.

May 13th

Porch Party in the town of Speedway, in conjunction with the Festival on Main.

May 14th

Chase 500 Festival Kids Day – Indiana’s largest outdoor kids’ festival returns to Monument Circle with all-afternoon activities for kids. Guests include singer Carly Rae Jepsen, as well as an appearance from Olympic gold-medalist Shawn Johnson.

May 20th

Rock IN Roar 500 – Indy Car driver Will Power is an accomplished drummer.  He will join local rock stars and a total of 500 musicians to the OneRepublic song “Love Runs Out” in unison on Georgia Street.

May 20 – Race Day

Spectacle: Sights and Sounds of the Indy500 – Georgia Street pedestrians will be immersed in an Indy 500-themed light show, featuring the sounds of the 500 and some of the most memorable radio calls from 100 years of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. 

May 21st

Race Through the Decades on Main – a celebration of 10 decades of Indy 500 history, free for all after qualifications on Main Street in Speedway. 

May 27th

Carb Night Burger Bash – Hosted by The Fan’s Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee, this free event takes over downtown at the Pan Am Plaza. Drivers and race teams are expected at The Fan’s live broadcast before live music takes over after 9. 

May 28th

The 60th edition of the IPL 500 Festival Parade takes to the streets of Indianapolis. As one of the premier parades in the United States, the celebration this year will be even more grand than in the past. Traditions abound though, as all 33 drivers will serve as grand marshals – lined up three-across just like at the drop of the green flag. Experience the Celebration is this year’s theme, piggybacking on the Indiana state bicentennial celebrations that are ongoing.