Each year, the Indianapolis 500 brings in hundreds of thousands of spectators. The race is just the beginning of the excitement. Special events include a breakfast, the very popular mini-marathon, Community Day, Indianapolis 500 Parade and the Snakepit Ball. Be sure to mark your calendars so you don't miss a single event!
Prepare for the largest half-marathon in the country the days leading up to the big event! The 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Expo features interactive activities for all ages, including a race simulator and many exhibitors. Join the more than 40,000 fellow participants, family, fans and guests at the Expo. All Mini-Marathon and 5K runners and walkers are required to pick up their race packet at the Expo.
Where: Indiana Convention Center, Halls A & B
When: May 3, between 4 - 8 p.m. or on May 4 between 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is the nation’s largest half-marathon, having sold out with 35,000 participants for the past 11 years. This year will be the 36th running of the race. This very popular event will feature international runners and walkers from across the country who have trained all year for the event. If you live in Indy, chances are you know someone participating! The half-marathon features a complete lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track.
Following, there is a large post-race party for all participants and spectators. Enjoy lots of food, entertainment and even a live video-feed of the event. The party is at Military Park and will begin at the same time as the race - 7:30 a.m.
Where: Begins at the intersection of Washington and West streets, ends on New York Street
When: May 5; staggered start times between 7:30 a.m.
Get your kids involved in the excitement of the 500 Festival at the Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day. This annual event is the state’s largest outdoor free festival for children and features tons of activities and entertainment. Here's what you can expect from the festival:
This great free event is open to kids ages 3 - 12.
Where: Monument Circle
When: May 12, 2012, 12:00 p.m.
Kids ages 3 - 12 can get a small taste of the Mini-Marathon with the Chase 500 Festival Rookie Run. The race takes place downtown. All participants will receive a goodie bag, a runner's bib with the number 1 and a finisher's medal. The length of the run depends on the age of the child. Course length begins at two blocks for youngest participants and goes up to one-third mile. Pre-registration is $6 (deadline is May 10). On-site registration is 10 (located in front of the Chase Tower on Ohio Street). Packets can be picked up at the Mini-Marathon Expo or on the day of the Rookie Run beginning at 11 a.m.
Where: Ohio & Meridian streets; Downtown Indianapolis
When: May 12, 2012; 1:00 p.m.
Start the fun early for Pole Day Qualifying with a hearty breakfast. Take a lap around the track in your vehicle, tour the garages and join Mayor Greg Ballard as he honors Hoosier mayors across the state. Legendary Indianapolis 500 champion Danny Sullivan will highlight the 2012 500 Festival Breakfast. In addition, the 2012 500 Festival Queen will be crowned. This event is open to the public. Cost is $60 per person or $750 for a table for 10.
Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Plaza Pavilion
When: May 19, 2012, 8:30 a.m.
For avid race fans, Community Day is a must. Fans invited to drive around the track in their own vehicles and that's just the beginning. Enjoy tours of Pit Lane and the official timing and scoring area, autograph sessions from favorite drivers and special entertainment throughout the day. In addition, Community Day admission includes admission into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. Cost is $8 per person in advance, $10 per person at the gate. Kids 6 and under free. Admission is available at Gate #2 or Gate #10.
Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
When: May 23, 2012, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
In the midst of the Indianapolis 500 celebrations, Memorial Day weekend is an important time to reflect on the sacrifices the men and women of the armed services have made for us. In honor of this important holiday, A wreath-laying ceremony will take place while the names of all the fallen servicemen and women within the past year are read aloud. A special guest speaker will precede over the ceremony.
A military funeral Cortège, a special horse-drawn caisson will symbolize Army soldiers who accompany the remains of the deceased to the gravesite. The rider-less horse represents the fact that the deceased have fallen as a warrior and will not ride again. A ceremonial flyover will conclude the service. The Memorial Service is televised commercial-free on WNDY and broadcast by WFMS.
Where: North steps of Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument; Downtown Indianapolis
When: May 25, 2012, 12:00 p.m.
Since 1957, The IPL 500 Festival Parade has been a signature event. Over 300,000 spectators from around the country will attend the parade, held on the eve of the Indianapolis 500. The parade is full of larger-than-life floats, celebrities, bands, giant helium balloons and of course, drivers. The 33 starting drivers of the Indianapolis 500 serve as honorary grand marshalls, riding in the traditional rows of three. The parade will be telecast locally on WISH-TV and nationally on NBC Sports Network. TV and VIP Reserved Seats are $32; Reserved Chair Seats are $19. Reserved Bleacher Seats are $14.50.
Where: Downtown Indianapolis
When: May 26, 2012, 12:00 p.m.
Mingle with the stars at this swanky ball which is held at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. The Snakepit Ball has become a race-eve tradition and is a black-tie event so elaborate that WISH-TV covers the red carpet arrivals. The ball includes dinner and dancing. This year the musical performer will be Rick Springfield. Springfield's career has spanned three decades. His song, "Jessie's Girl"earned him a Grammy in 1982. Tickets will be available by calling (317) 927-3378. Tickets are $275 each. Corporate tables may be reserved when purchasing tickets.
Where: Indiana Roof Ballroom; Downtown Indianapolis
When: May 26; 6 p.m.