Countdown to the Month of May in Indianapolis

As April draws to a close here in the Circle City, Hoosiers can officially begin to look forward to the month of May and all of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (Indy 500) excitement that goes along with it. The 500 Festival, one of the biggest nonprofit organizations in Indianapolis, has planned a nonstop line-up for May that promises fun for all ages and commemorates the greatest spectacle in racing. If you want to see the city of Indianapolis at its best this Spring, head downtown and join in on the fun!

First up is the largest half-marathon in the country, the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. With 35,ooo runners ready to pound the pavement, here’s hoping for clear skies, low temps, and plenty of early-morning energy. If you didn’t sign up in time or can’t fathom traveling 13.1 miles in your running shoes, you can still cheer on the participants or hand out Gatorade at one of the many water stops along the path. The course winds through the streets of beautiful downtown Indianapolis and takes a special detour to the heart of the 500 Festival celebration, the historical Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

And don’t forget the best part of any race–the postrace party, featuring bananas, cookies, bagels, and beer. Participants and their supporters can collapse in the soft grass carpeting Military Park and enjoy the festivities for the rest of the afternoon, which include live music, shopping for race goodies in the tents lining the park, and an always-flowing drink garden.

After you’ve fully recovered from the Mini, gear up for Event # 2 of the Indianapolis 500 Festival Month of May activities. The Breakfast at the Brickyard is an integral part of Indianapolis history, and provides citizens from all over the state a chance to experience the excitement of Pole Day, see the Indianapolis 500 Festival Queen crowned, and meet the mayor of Naptown himself, Greg Ballard. This year’s event takes place on May 22nd at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway Plaza Pavilion.

May 23rd follows up the 22nd with its own packed line-up of outdoor activities for kids of all ages. The Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day and Rookie Run allow your Indianapolis children to experience the thrill of Indy racing their own way, with face painting, arts and crafts, games, and plenty of delicious treats. Come join the fun on Monument Circle, and if your child feels like a little friendly competition, enroll them in the Rookie Run, a two-block to 1/2 mile course (depending on age) where everyone walks away a winner.

If you were busy watching the kids enjoy the fun and forgot to do some playing of your own on Kids’ Day, you won’t want to to miss the American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day on May 26. Located at the speedway, this event provides the opportunity to take a lap around the legendary track in your own car. After you take your photo in Victory Circle, complete with your trophy and requisite glass of milk, head to the pagoda to tour the official timing and scoring area and check out Pit Lane and its dazzling array of vintage race cars. Live music provides the perfect energizing soundtrack to your day as a tourist at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Finally, as Memorial Day weekend unfolds in the streets of the city, the race-weekend festivities will officially be underway. On Friday, May 28, plan to attend the 500 Festival Memorial Day Service, a solemn tribute to the fallen Hoosiers who gave their lives to protect their fellow citizens. Held on the North steps of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument on Monument Circle, this event is free and open to the public. A ceremonial flyover and wreath-laying ceremony will conclude the service.

Saturday, May 29th is one of the most eagerly anticipated days of the Spring here in the Circle City. Not only will the legendary 500 Festival Parade march through the streets of downtown (led by none other than NCAA national championship runner-up heroes the Butler University Bulldogs), but the glamorous Snakepit Ball will infuse some celebrity glitz into Indy Saturday night. Taking place in the ritzy Indiana Roof Ballroom, the ball provides your chance to be serenaded by the renowned Pointers Sisters and catch of glimpse of Indy’s own royalty, the 500 Festival Princesses.

After you dance the night away at the Snakepit Ball, you’ll want to make sure to rise bright and early to find your spot at the 94th running of the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Whether your seats are in Turn 3, at the finish line, or you’re just tailgating in the infield, it promises to be the perfect end to a fabulous May in the city of Indianapolis.

For more information on any of the 500 Festival events during the month of the May, visit the official  500 Festival Website. And visit often for all the latest updates on Indianapolis news, events, and information!

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