Thursday, May 5

Indy 500 Festival Events 2011

500 Festival Events for Month of May
500 Festival Mini-Marathon Expo (Convention Center, Hall I)
May 5, 2011 - 4 - 8 p.m.
May 6, 2011 - 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Cost:     Free
 The 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Expo jump starts the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon weekend for both participants and the general public on May 5 and 6 with interactive activities for all ages and a great selection of exhibitors. Located in Hall I within the Indianapolis Convention Center, it houses the 40,000-plus participants, along with family, fans and guests. Because the Mini-Marathon race packets are not mailed to the participants, all Mini-Marathon and 5K runners/walkers are required to pick up their race packets at the Expo. The packets include the runner’s bib race number, Bib-timing device, participant shirt and other important information. The Expo is a great opportunity for everyone to enjoy the excitement that builds to the Mini-Marathon on Saturday and provides an opportunity for the general public to learn about the latest in health and fitness gear.

OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (Downtown Indianapolis)- SOLD OUT!
May 7, 2011 - 7:30 a.m.
 The 500 Festival kicks off May in a big way with one of its premier events, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. The Mini-Marathon is the nation’s largest half-marathon, having sold out with 35,000 participants. 
This 500 Festival tradition will commence May 7 and will mark the 35th running of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. Within its 35-year history, many stories have emerged around the excitement. From United States Olympian marathon runners, the arrival of international runners, to the family traditions, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon provides competition and camaraderie.
 Race Highlights
·         The course for the Mini-Marathon begins near the intersection of Washington and West streets, heads west toward the Indianapolis Motor Speedway® along Michigan Street and does a complete lap around the 2.5 mile track before heading back down New York Street to the finish line.
·         Ranked as one of the best half-marathons by Runner's World magazine
·         A flat, fast course that loops the Indianapolis Motor Speedway®, home of the world-famous Indianapolis 500®, Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and the United States Grand Prix.
·         Corralled starting area
·         Bib-timing and scoring devices
·         Special seeded start areas
·         Unique Mini-Marathon medals for all finishers provided by OneAmerica  (plus, the opportunity to purchase an iTaB and engrave your name and finishing time for insertion on the back of the medal)
·         Free commemorative long-sleeve technical t-shirt to all participants
·         Continuous music and entertainment along the Mini-Marathon course provided by nearly 80 groups
·         16 course "Pit Areas" (11 water stations, five Gatorade stations) as well as water and Gatorade at the start and finish areas, all in 13.1 miles
·         Athletes and fans are invited to join more than 80 vendors and exhibitors in the two-day 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Expo.
·         Great deals on official race merchandise and running apparel, health and fitness information, giveaways and entertainment are all part of the Expo
·         The Expo is open to the general public
·         Post Race Party at Military Park from 7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Finish Line 500 Festival 5K (Downtown Indianapolis) - SOLD OUT!
May 7, 2011 – 7 a.m.
 The 2011 Finish Line 500 Festival 5K takes place on May 7. Start time is slotted for 7 a.m. and will use the same start line and finish line as the Mini. The Finish Line 5K carries a 56-minute time limit for competition. The race begins near the Indiana State Museum and travels along Washington Street until White River Parkway and continues north to Michigan Street. Runners will take a right on Michigan Street, right on Porto Alegre Street, right  on Limestone Street, left on New York Street, left on Lansing Street, right on Beauty Street then left on New York Street to finish at Military Park. 

Runners and walkers in the 5K receive many of the same benefits as the participants in the Mini-Marathon. Benefits include: water station (pit area), entertainment along the course, a complimentary opening day ticket for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway®, a 2011 Finish Line 500 Festival 5K short-sleeved technical T-shirt and access to the Post Race Party. 
Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day (Monument Circle)
May 15, 2011 - Noon
Cost:     Free
 With more than 30,000 people in attendance, Kids’ Day is the state’s largest free outdoor festival for children. Families can interact with local mascots and clowns, race mini cars, bounce in giant inflatable’s and create arts and crafts. Children can also visit with nationally known characters or make sashes with the newly crowned 500 Festival Queen and the 500 Festival Princesses. Dozens of exhibitors will fill Monument Circle and surrounding streets with food, fun and educational games.  

Entertainment will include a special appearance by Jake from the original animated series “Jake and the Never Land Pirates.” Additional entertainment includes performances by some of the best local acts and music, games, and prizes hosted by the Radio Disney Road Crew.Additionally, everyone will leave a winner as over 10,000 prizes will be given away throughout the day from dozens of exhibitors around Monument Circle. Come out and enjoy a family-fun-filled day, because the best part of Kids’ Day is…it’s FREE!

Chase 500 Festival Rookie Run (Monument Circle)
May 15, 2011 – 1 p.m.
Cost:     Pre-registration is just $5. The on-site fee is $10.

As part of the Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day, all kids ages three to 12 are invited to join in for the Chase 500 Festival Rookie Run. It is a non-competitive fun run where everyone goes away a winner. The Rookie Run is a great way for kids to stay physically fit. Kids aged three to five will run a two-block course, runners aged six and seven will race a -mile course, while runners aged eight to 12 will run the -mile course. The race takes place on Ohio and Meridian streets, just north of Monument Circle. All participants will receive a goodie bag, a runner’s bib with the number 1 and a finisher's medal – just like the Mini-Marathon participants.

Johnny Rutherford
500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by ProLiance Energy (Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Plaza Pavilion)
May 21, 2011 —9 a.m.
Cost:     $60 per ticket
 The annual 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by ProLiance Energy gives numerous opportunities to families and friends to enjoy a morning at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway®. The agenda consists of a hearty breakfast, the chance to see the 2011 500 Festival Queen crowned, as well as taking a lap around the famed oval in your vehicle and touring the garages. The guest speakers for 2011 will be Indianapolis 500® winners Johnny Rutherford (1974, 1976, 1980) and Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991). The remainder of the day will include experiencing Pole Day qualifying for the 2011 Indianapolis 500®.

American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day (Indianapolis Motor Speedway)
May 25, 2011 - 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Cost:     The price is $7 for adults and kids 6 and under get in free!
 The American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day gives people the opportunity to drive their vehicle on the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway® oval. In addition to driving on the track, visitors may tour the IndyCar car transport trailers, visit Pit Lane, check out the vintage cars on display, get autographs from Pro Series drivers and past champions, plus much more. Gather your pit crew and compete to become champions in the Media Pit Stop Competition – win bragging rights for the year and money to donate to the charity of your choice. Plus, admission to Community Day includes admission to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum®.

500 Festival Memorial Service presented by Rolls-Royce (Monument Circle)
May 27, 2011 - Noon
Cost:     Free      
 Each year nearly 1,000 people gather at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis to honor Indiana’s military personnel who have made the ultimate sacrifice in America’s wars at the 500 Festival Memorial Day, presented by Rolls-Royce. All the excitement that surrounds the annual running of the Indianapolis 500 eagerly pauses for one solemn morning each May as a grateful community gives honor to Hoosiers who died in defense of our country so that others might remain free. The Memorial Service is held downtown on the north steps of the Soldier’s and Sailors’ Monument on Friday morning of race weekend.

General Peter W. Chiarelli (KER-el-EE) will be the featured speaker at the 500 Festival Memorial Service, presented by Rolls-Royce. Chiarelli is currently the 32nd Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. In his previous assignment, he was the Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. Throughout his career, General Chiarelli has served in Army units in the United States, Germany and Belgium. He has commanded at every level from platoon to corps.

500 Festival Character Breakfast (Hilton Indianapolis)
May 28, 2011 - 9 – 11 a.m.
Cost:     $27, includes full breakfast and one reserved bleacher ticket for IPL 500 Festival Parade

Begin your parade festivities with your kids and their favorite characters at the 500 Festival Costumed Character Breakfast. Special guests will include Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo Scooby Doo and Shaggy. 

IPL 500 Festival Parade (Downtown Indianapolis)
May 28, 2011 - Noon
Cost:     TV/VIP Reserved Seats $32; Reserved Chair Seats $18; Reserved Bleacher Seats $14.50.
 One of the original events produced by the 500 Festival, the IPL 500 Festival Parade, has grown to be one of the signature events held in the United States each year. The 500 Festival Parade is the only 500 Festival event that has taken place every year, beginning in 1957.  Held on May 28, the eve of the Indianapolis 500®, 300,000 spectators from around the country will line the streets of Indianapolis for one of the nation’s premier parades, alongside the Pasadena Tournament of Roses and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The IPL 500 Festival Parade allows all spectators to witness the pageantry and larger-than-life floats light up the streets of downtown Indianapolis. Well-known celebrities, costumed characters, marching bands, patriotic units, specialty units, spectacular floats and giant helium balloons will fill the streets to celebrate the world's largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500®.
On top of the balloons and floats, the continuing tradition includes all 33 Indianapolis 500® drivers to serve as honorary grand marshals. The 2010 Grand Marshal was Butler University coach Brad Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs men's basketball team.

Regions 500 Festival Snakepit Ball, presented by Cindy & Paul Skjodt (Indiana Roof Ballroom) - SOLD OUT!
May 28, 2011 - 6 p.m.

On the eve of the 2011 Indianapolis 500®, the annual Regions 500 Festival Snakepit Ball, presented by Cindy & Paul Skjodt, will commence to continue the race-eve tradition. The black-tie affair includes red carpet arrivals by celebrities in town for race weekend and special VIP guests. Dinner and dancing will round out the celebration. Entertainment will be provided by American rock band REO Speedwagon. The group has sold 22 million albums in the U.S. and 40 million albums around the globe, including a string of gold and platinum records and international hit singles that dominated the charts during the 70s and 80s. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m., while dancing will take place throughout the night. This event is the place to be seen the night before the Greatest Spectacle in Racing!

500 Festival and Indianapolis 500 Education Program
Indiana’s fourth grade students will once again be able to learn more about the 500 Festival and the Indianapolis 500’s® place and importance in Indiana’s rich culture as the 500 Festival and Indianapolis 500® Education Program gears up for its eighth year. Since the inception of the program in 2004, the 500 Festival and Indianapolis Motor Speedway® have served more than 131,000 fourth graders from throughout the state in this free program.

The 500 Festival and Indianapolis 500® Education Program strives to educate and foster creativity in Hoosier fourth-grade students by using the historical, social and economic significances of the 500 Festival, Indianapolis 500® and the thriving motorsports industry of Indiana in the curriculum. This program is packed with information including an Academic Standard-based curriculum, teacher materials, a video and the opportunity for an educational Study Trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway® in April and May! This year, nearly 24,000 students will participate in the Education Program, with 9,000 students attending a Study Trip at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway®.

500 Festival Princess Program

This year 33 young women from across Indiana are participating in the 2011 500 Festival Princess Program.  As ambassadors of the 500 Festival, the 2011 Indianapolis 500® and their hometowns, the princesses attend 500 Festival events and volunteer programs throughout the month of May. In addition, the 33 princesses are involved with statewide outreach programs of their choosing. Princesses are also present at various Indianapolis Motor Speedway® functions and participate in the Indianapolis 500 Victory Circle celebration.


This year’s 500 Festival princesses represent 11 Indiana colleges and universities and 24 cities and towns across the state. The young women were selected from 278 applicants based on communication skills, poise, community and volunteer involvement and academic performance. 

The 500 Festival Queen, to be crowned at the 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by ProLiance Energy at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway®, will receive a $2,500 scholarship. The queen and princesses will also serve as ambassadors for the 2011 Indianapolis 500®, Sunday, May 29.

500 Festival Volunteer Program

Much of the success of the 500 Festival is due to the support received by the community.  More than 7,000 volunteers lend a hand throughout the month of May to help execute all the 500 Festival events. Nearly 4,000 volunteers assist with the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and Finish Line 5K and 1,500 volunteers assist with the 500 Festival Parade. Volunteers from schools, corporations, public service agencies and local churches are just a few examples of the diverse groups and individuals that comprise the 500 Festival Volunteer Program. 
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, music, restaurant and performing arts critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.
Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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