The Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, often shortened to The Indy 500, is the legendary automobile race held annually over the Memorial Day weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The 2009 Race has for its theme, Laps, Legends and Legacy – The 100th Anniversary.
This event, probably one of the Greatest Spectacles in Motor Racing, attracts up to 500,000 visitors to Indiana.
While the motor race is famous worldwide, many people will not know of the associated Indianapolis 500 Festival, which has provided great entertainment for families since its inception in 1957. With one of the nation’s premier parades and the largest outdoor festival for kids, The Indianapolis 500 Festival has become a top event in the USA.
While there are Indy 500 Festival events throughout May, in this article we concentrate on the major attractions immediately prior to Race Day on Sunday 24 May.
CHASE 500 FESTIVAL KID’S DAY SUNDAY 17 MAY
You and your kids will not want to miss this one! This year’s theme is Batman and Robin, who will perform daily. The fun-filled day also has Mini Car Racing, Games, Face Painting, Clowns, Entertainment and of course, Food.
CHASE 500 FESTIVAL ROOKIE RUN
Also on Sunday 17 May is the non-competitive, mini marathon for kids. Kids aged 3-12 can run and everyone is a winner and will receive a goodies bag and a medal, just like the grown-ups. 3-5 year oldscover a 2-block course, 6-7 1/4 mile with 8-12 running 1/2 mile in downtown Indianapolis.
FESTIVAL COMMUNITY DAY 20 MAY
Here is your opportunity to experience a unique view of the Raceway by driving your own car around the circuit. Visit the Pit Lane, tour the official facilities, collect autographs, visit the Hall of Fame and listen to great music.
INDIANAPOLIS 500 FESTIVAL MEMORIAL SERVICE FRIDAY 22 MAY
The festival embraces Memorial Day and The Memorial Service recognises the ultimate sacrifices made by men and women of the armed forces both from Indiana and the Nation. Speakers include distinguished military officers, The Governor of Indiana and the Mayor of Indianapolis. The service normally concludes with a flypast of USAF aircraft.
THE IPL 500 FESTIVAL PARADE SATURDAY 23 MAY
The Annual Indianapolis 500 Parade is the highlight of the Festival and this year celebrates 52 years of tradition. The pageant includes national celebrities, costumed characters, marching bands, patriotic units, spectacular floats and giant helium-filled balloons. Children will enjoy the sight of favourite characters such as Sponge Bob Spare Parts and Dinosaur and Wags from The Wiggles. In line with tradition, the 33 qualified race drivers act as Parade Marshalls.
After these great events, you can settle down to watch the race itself on Sunday, 24 May.
Before you head home, a must from the many food vendors at The Indy 500, is the traditional choice of a pork tenderloin sandwich which is a well known Midwestern creation
Enjoy one of the world’s largest, single day, sporting events.