Indy Gears Up for Showcase Weekend
13 May, 2016
Grand Prix, Bike Tour, Running All on Tap Along With 500 Festival
Visit Indy has a weekend full of sports ready to greet its visitors. And as the city gears up to face its biggest event of the year, the Indy 500, expect it to roll out the welcome mat and ramp up the excitement.
In fact, ahead of the centennial year of the Indy 500, Visit Indy has announced that for the first time in two decades, the Indianapolis 500 is sold out. All 250,000 grandstand seats have been reserved, although general admission infield tickets are still available. Indy's 33,000 hotel rooms sold out in March, earlier than for past races, and commanded rates 20 to 40 percent higher than inprevious years. Visitors are being placed in hotels in outlying cities at this point.
But all those visitors have an exciting time ahead of them; just take a gander at what's in store this weekend alone:
Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis: The first auto race of the month of May is this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Grand Prix is an IndyCar event running on the reconfigured 14-turn road course. See practice Thursday, qualifying Friday, and the race Saturday. Following the race, walk on the legendary Yard of Bricks with friends and family in a Track Invasion. Race tickets start at $30. Information is available here.
Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day and Rookie Run: This Saturday, kids can get excited about the upcoming race! The Rookie Run downtown is a non-competitive event with nothing but winners. Registration is $16. Also downtown, Monument Circle hosts the state’s largest, free outdoor festival for children, Kids’ Day. Race mini cars, meet mascots, and make crafts with 500 Festival princesses during this interactive, educational event. Information is available here.
100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Bike Tour: Celebrate the 100th running by learning about the auto titans in Crown Hill Cemetery. Speedway founders, 500 winners, legendary drivers, mechanics, and auto makers are all buried on the grounds, and Sunday’s tour includes mini-talks at gravesites, as well as several vintage cars and motorcycles along the six-mile route. Tickets are $15. BYOB (Bring your own bike). Full information is available here.
500 Festival: The mission of the 500 Festival is to advocate and celebrate the spirit, heritage and legacy of the Indianapolis 500. Through social, cultural and educational events and programs, the 500 Festival enhances the quality of life for all citizens of our communities.
No other singular sporting event in the world has a legacy like the Indianapolis 500. No other event has shaped and defined a city and state and their people like the Indianapolis 500.
The 500 Festival, a not-for-profit volunteer organization, was created in 1957 to organize civic events celebrating the greatest race in the world. Over the past 55 years, the 500 Festival has grown to become one of the largest festivals in the nation.
Last year, nearly 500,000 Hoosiers and visitors participated in festival activities throughout the month of May. Whether they were athletes running the world's largest Mini-marathon, fourth grade students participating in the Education Program, families enjoying the state's largest festival for kids, or spectators being dazzled by one of the nation's premier parades, they were there, celebrating the legacy.
Key annual festival events include the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon; Chase 500 Festival Kid's Day and Rookie Run; American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day (at the Motor Speedway); 500 Festival Memorial Service, presented by Rolls-Royce; IPL 500 Festival Parade and the Regions 500 Festival Snakepit Ball, presented by Cindy and Paul Skjodt.
A full list of 500 Festival activities can be found here.