500 Festival Events 2011: Indianapolis Racing Heats Up

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is open for business this Summer. With 100 years under its belt, the Brickyard is truly a landmark in sports history. With events all May celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 mile race, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is abuzz with activity. In fact, all of Indianapolis becomes race driven, with Indianapolis events popping up across the Circle City. Don’t miss the rich traditions surrounding the most famous 500 miles in Indianapolis sports. From breakfasts with racing legends to beauty queens with bright sashes, the upcoming events at the Brickyard are loaded with fun for Indianapolis people.

Breakfast at the Brickyard

Proliance Energy presents Breakfast at the Brickyard May 21, 2011 at 9:00 am. This Indianapolis event is $60.00 per person. Eat some eggs and bacon with special guests Rick Mears, Johnny Rutherford and Mario Andretti, legends of racing. Rick Mears and Johnny Rutherford are no strangers to victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mears is one of three men who holds four Indianapolis 500 wins, while Rutherford is a member of the elite nine drivers who have at least three victories.

Though he retired in 1992, Mears’ records stand strong. He has the most pole positions (six), the most wins from the pole (three), the most front row starts (eleven) and the most consecutive front row starts (six) in the entire history of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. His incredible statistics don’t end there, as the winner of the 1979, 1984, 1988 and 1991 races. In addition, he was the first driver of an Indy Car to earn $10 million.

Rutherford, known by fans as “Lonestar J.R.” because of his Texan roots, took home first place at the Indy 500 in 1974, 1976 and 1980 and won three poles in 1973, 1976 and 1980. Though he made a successful transition to the world of stock car racing making 35 NASCAR Winston Cup starts, he is still a legend in Indy Car racing.

Enjoy a delicious breakfast with these racing legends, a question and answer session hosted by veteran motorsports announcer Mike King and see the crowning of the 2011 500 Festival Queen. Plus, weather permitting, guests will have the opportunity to take a lap around the oval, tour the garages and experience Pole Day Qualifying for this year’s race.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
4790 West 16th Street
Indianapolis, IN

500 Festival Community Day

Get an inside look at the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race just four days before the race is run at the 500 Festival Community Day sponsored by American Family Insurance. The fun gets underway Wednesday, May 25, 2011 from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Tickets are $7.00 per person. Indianapolis kids under six get in for free. Buy your tickets at Gate #2 or Gate #10.

It is every race fan’s dream to drive the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Not you can take a lap around the famous oval track in your own car at the 500 Festival Community Day. More than that, Community Day attendees are invited to get up close and personal with nearly every aspect of operation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Tour the IRL car transport trailers. Visit the Pit Lane and get your picture taken with the vintage cars on display.

Pro Series drivers and past champions will be on hand to sign autographs. Get a snap shot in the Victory Circle, chugging that infamous glass of milk. Tour VIP suites and the official timing and scoring area in the IMS pagoda. All this plus live Indianapolis music, question and answer sessions with celebrated drivers, games and more. The price of your admission also allows entrance into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. Don’t miss it!

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
4790 West 16th Street
Indianapolis, IN

500 Festival Memorial Service

The Indianapolis 500 Mile Race organizers understand the incredible commitment our men and women in uniform have made in defense of our country. 500 Festival organizers and Hoosiers from across Indiana will gather at the base of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument at Monument Circle in Indianapolis downtown Friday, May 27 at noon to honor United States troops at home and abroad.

Featured speaker General Peter W. Chiarelli will lead the crowd at this year’s Memorial Service. He is currently the 32nd Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army. There will also be a wreath laying ceremony dedicated to the memory of Indiana residents in past and present wars and conflicts who sacrificed their lives in defense of the nation. In addition, the names of all fallen servicemen and women from the past year will be read aloud. A ceremonial flyover will conclude the service.

Monument Circle
100 Monument Circle
Indianapolis, IN

IPL 500 Festival Parade

The most celebrated of 500 Festival events, the Indianapolis Power and Light 500 Festival Parade takes over Indianapolis downtown Saturday, May 28, 2011 at noon. Lining the streets is free, but to get great seats without waiting by TV/VIP Reserved Seats for $32.00, reserved chair seats for $18.00 and reserved bleacher seats for $14.50.

While the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race is in its 100th year, the IPL 500 Festival Parade is celebrating 54 years of tradition. Larger the life floats, incredible pageantry and the 500 Festival princesses fill the streets of downtown to entertain more than 300,000 spectators. Favorite costumed characters will be on hand including SpongeBob SquarePants, Pablo and Tyrone from “The Backyardigans,” Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog from “The Wiggles,” Powerpuff Girls and Fred and Wilma Flinstone.

Plus 33 starting drivers will serve as honorary grand marshals the day before they kick it into gear at the track. Don’t miss the most colorful part of the 500 Festival events.

IPL 500 Festival Parade
Indianapolis Downtown

500 Festival Snakepit Ball

Sponsored by Regions 500, the 500 Festival Snakepit Ball loads the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis downtown with glitz and glamor. This is black tie event is where the cream of the crop mix and mingle. Indianapolis celebrities, racing legends and the most glamorous Indianapolis people will walk the red carpet at 6:00 pm, broadcast on Channel 8 WISH-TV.  With entertainment by rock and roll legends REO Speedwagon, this fancy Indianapolis event is elegant and fun.

Indiana Roof Ballroom
140 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN

500 Festival Events

The 500 Festival celebrates the month of May with a variety of events across Indianapolis. Enjoy good times at these special occasions. After you have your fill of fun, grab a bite to eat at any of these Indianapolis restaurants, or a drink from any of these Indianapolis bars.

Stay tuned to for all the latest on fun things to do in Indianapolis. We cover Indianapolis arts, Indianapolis theatre, Indianapolis shopping and more. Get out in Indy and find some fun!

500 Festival Events
All May