The Indianapolis 500 Festival: One Month of Family-Friendly Madness

The Indianapolis 500 Festival in Indianapolis celebrates the cornerstone of Indianapolis sports, the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (the Indy 500). The city produces a month-long festival every May that attracts half a million visitors each year from all over Indiana, the United States, and the world. Both the Indy 500 and the 500 Festival are classic Indianapolis attractions and two of the best things to do in Indianapolis.

Video of the Purdue University marching band at the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade in downtown Indianapolis



The 500 Festival is quite a feat to pull off each year, requiring the coordination of countless volunteers, events, and organizations. From the pomp, circumstance, color, and excitement of the opening parade on the first day to the tension and exhilaration of that last Indy car speeding past the finish line of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the 500 Festival’s team of all-volunteer organizers is busy planning, coordinating, and executing.

Doing Indy video about the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in downtown Indianapolis

The 500 Festival Foundation is an Indianapolis nonprofit organization whose existence is for the sole purpose of supporting the Indianapolis 500 Festival programs, especially those for Indianapolis children and Indianapolis schools. The 500 Festival Foundation is the backbone and prime mover for the 500 Festival; it’s because of them that Indianapolis can have such a riotous good time each May.

All this energy comes from the wonder of the Indianapolis 500, fed in no small part by the experience of speed. The Indy 500 is a sporting event unlike any other. This world-famous auto race has brought together the Circle City, its outlying communities, and indeed, the entire state of Indiana.

The Indianapolis 500 Festival gives that energy right back. This grandaddy of all Indianapolis fairs and festivals, enduring for over 50 years, is now one of the largest festivals in the United States and the largest kids’ festival in the state, offering one of the best parades in the nation.

Channel 8 WISH TV video covering the 2009 Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade in downtown Indianapolis


Every year, the 500 Festival is kicked off with a now-famous opening parade. Just a few of most popular events that make up the The 500 Festival are:

Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini-MarathonThis world-famous marathon draws runners from all over the globe. Generally over 40,000 athletes clog the streets of downtown Indianapolis. It is the fifth-largest such race in the nation, and tops the list of the nation’s largest half-marathons.
Indianapolis 500 Festival Princess Program – One Festival Princess is chosen as Festival Queen every year, from among 300 delightful applicants.
Indianapolis 500 Festival Kids’ Day – This is a whole Sunday given over to kids and their folks.
Indianapolis 500 Festival Education Program – An important part of the 500 Festival, this award-winning, ongoing event offers projects, lectures and classes about the Indy 500 and the Festival itself as part of the fascinating history of Indiana.


For more information on the Indianapolis 500 Festival, please visit the Festival’s website.

The 500 Festival Foundation
500 Festival Building
21 Virginia Ave, Ste 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204

The 500 Festival, Inc.
21 Virginia Aven
Indianapolis, IN

The 500 Festival
2960 N Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN
317. 927.3378

The 500 Festival Tickets
Call 317.614.6400