May 11, 2021

Crowd Limitations Revealed For Indy 500 Festival Events

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The Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade will not take place this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (IndyCar Photo)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske continues to have a goal of a near capacity crowd for this year’s 105th Indianapolis 500.

Crowd limitations, however, were announced for many of the events by the Indianapolis 500 Festival Committee on Tuesday.

For the second year in a row, the parade has been canceled because of ongoing COVID-19 crowd restrictions. Many of the popular in-person events will also be severely limited.

The 500 Festival is a non-profit organization that oversees many of the ancillary functions, including the massively attended Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade, held the day before the Indianapolis 500.

“As a non-profit organization that produces large-scale community events held in public spaces, we have faced a number of unique challenges compared to events hosted in standalone venues,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “After careful consideration, it was ultimately determined that many of our events would not be able to take place in their traditional, in-person formats. The 500 Festival is continuing to work hard to reproduce and reimagine experiences and traditions that so many Hoosiers and race fans have come to love. Through these new opportunities and activations, we will continue to support and celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 in every way possible.”

The 500 Festival has worked closely with community and government leaders to develop plans to ensure the safety of all ticket-holders, volunteers, staff, spectators, and surrounding communities.

“We appreciate the community engagements of the 500 Festival and look forward to the opportunity to welcome Indiana mayors at the Breakfast at the Brickyard and honor Gold Star Families at the Memorial Service,” said Rob Pruitt, chairman of the 500 Festival Board of Directors. “The new 500 Festival activities are creative and essential to keep the community at the forefront of all that we value for the Month of May in Indiana. These moves allow us to focus on the events and activities that will take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including the 105th running of the Indy 500. We extend our gratitude to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, ticket-holders, participants, and the thousands of community volunteers who are critical to the overall positive impact of the 500 Festival on our city and state.”

Please see below for specific updates on each event:

– 500 Festival Kickoff to May, presented by STAR Bank | May 5 – The event will take place in-person on Monument Circle from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm. The event will be open only to the media and will adhere to health guidelines. The Kickoff to May Coloring Contest will also return in April for Indiana children ages twelve and under.

– OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon & Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K | May 8-23 – Details and event updates regarding the virtual Mini-Marathon and 5K were announced on March 1.

– Salesforce & JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day | May 15 – The in-person event will NOT take place. An online interactive Kids’ Day Map will go live on May 15, where families and kids will have the opportunity to visit educational booths and follow along with entertaining videos. In place of the cancellation, over 3,000 Kids’ Day-themed backpacks, filled with essentials, educational items, toys, and games, will be distributed to youth-serving organizations in Marion County.

– Salesforce & JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Rookie Run – The in-person event will NOT take place and will instead be held virtually. Parents and guardians can register their rookie runner for the virtual fun run to introduce kids to the basics of running. Rookie runners will receive a package in the mail including their participant shirt and finisher medal.

– 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by Midwestern Engineers, Inc. | May 22 – The in-person event is invitation-only and will take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway adhering to health guidelines. With a limited capacity, individual tickets or tables will not be available for purchase.

– The American Legion 500 Festival Memorial Service | May 28 – The in-person event will take place at the Indiana War Memorial on the Friday before the Indianapolis 500. The event will have a limited capacity by invitation only. WISH-TV will provide a livestream option as well as a broadcast of the event on Memorial Day.

– AES 500 Festival Parade | May 29 – The traditional in-person parade will NOT take place. Current ticket-holders will be contacted by the 500 Festival this week with more information. In collaboration with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there will be a new community celebration event called “500 Spectacle of Homes,” in place of the traditional AES 500 Festival Parade. The 500 Spectacle of Homes will activate in neighborhoods across Indianapolis throughout the Month of May leading into Indy 500 Race Weekend and it will culminate with a “reverse parade” on Saturday, May 29. This will include a caravan of the 33 Indy 500 drivers who will make their way from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, throughout surrounding neighborhoods and downtown Indianapolis. Details for ways to participate will be shared soon. To learn more details about the 500 Spectacle of Homes, click here.

– 500 Festival Off the Grid, presented by KeyBank – The in-person event will NOT take place. In lieu of hosting an in-person black-tie event, funds that would have gone towards this event will now be used to create and deliver an Off the Grid Gift Box for central Indiana healthcare workers so they can enjoy a VIP experience at their home, continuing the reach of the 2020 project. Deliveries will be made the week leading up to the Indianapolis 500. The 500 Festival Foundation is now accepting donations from the public to support the creation of gift baskets that will be given to healthcare heroes. To support these frontline workers in this effort, text the code “HEALTHCAREVIPS” to 44-321

– 500 Festival Volunteer Program, presented by Citizens Energy Group – Due to the modified formats of this year’s 500 Festival events, the Volunteer Program will feature various opportunities to volunteer virtually. Past, present, and future volunteers can support the 500 Festival through new, safe, and meaningful ways. More details will be shared in the coming days.

– The 500 Festival & Indianapolis 500 Education Program, presented by Indiana University Health – The in-person events, including the Education Program Study Trips and Mobile Trips, will NOT take place. Educators involved in the program will receive more information in the coming weeks about virtual resources and opportunities to engage classrooms in new ways.



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