Indianapolis 500 Community Initiatives

How We Celebrate

The Celebration of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge includes annual activities and events hosted by IMS. These events help prepare race fans for the Month of May and the Indianapolis 500 and show some of the best way to celebrate The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.


The best way to thank those who make the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge a thrilling, unforgettable event is by giving the most Indy 500 give ever. Commemorative milk bottles are delivered every year to various celebrities, VIP’s, civic officials, groups and organizations in the greater Indianapolis area that work tirelessly and often behind the scenes.


From the massive graphic on the JW Marriott to 104th Running décor at Monument Circle, Georgia Street, the Indianapolis International Airport and Central Indiana neighborhoods, it’s easy to see our May Feeling. The Indy 500 Downtown Décor Invasion is a collaboration with Hamilton County Tourism, the Indianapolis Airport Authority and Visit Indy to ensure the characteristic hospitality of Indianapolis is obvious for visitors during the Month of May. We also work with the City of Indianapolis to rename downtown Indianapolis streets after the star drivers of the Indianapolis 500! Make sure you grab your photo with all the awesome signage and post it on social media for everyone to see!

We also work with Hamilton County Tourism, the Indianapolis Airport Authority and Visit Indy to make Hoosier hospitality turbocharged during the Month of May when you check in to your hotel with our Welcome Program! Visit one of the more than 30 hotels throughout downtown and Hamilton County and ask as your concierge for anything you need to know about May. Or, check out one of our information tables with schedules, maps and great local restaurants.


Keep your eyes peeled for some Hoosier Hospitality! Art depicting the most popular words you’ll see during the Month of May will “Welcome Race Fans” to Indianapolis. This fantastic collaboration with the Arts Council of Indianapolis creates original artwork themed around “Welcome Race Fans.” This year’s artists are: Amiah Mims, Sharon Jiskra Brooks, Kat Silver, Daren Redman and Armando Arced. Their art will be on display downtown in the windows of Indianapolis Power and Light Co.’s building on Monument Circle and at the Arts Garden at the Washington and Illinois Street intersection. You can also spot installations on the Indy Reads Building, The Lodge in Irvington and along Main Street in Speedway.

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The Community Participation of the Indianapolis 500 puts fans first and allows them to show their Indy 500 passion, spirit and what That May Feeling means to them. IMS and the Indianapolis community have come together to offer many ways for you to be a part of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.


The best way to show people your May Feeling is by wearing it! Central Indiana residents are encouraged to incorporate racing and the “500” into their attire the first four Friday’s of May, called #500Fashion Fridays. Plus, we’ve partnered with Downtown Indy, Inc., Pattern, Rev and Simon Malls to make #500Fashion Fridays even more rewarding. Along with Susan Decker Media, we are teaming up with restaurants around the city to offer discounts every #500Fashion Friday when you come in rockin’ your best #500Fashion Friday style. Check out the list of participating locations.


Make your Race Day commute fun and safe when you Bike to the 500 on Race Day! Join the fifth annual group bike ride to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, organized by our partners at Bike Indianapolis. This year’s ride will take place Sunday, May 24. Riders will gather at City Market in downtown Indianapolis before heading out together on a safe, monitored bike route to the Speedway. Plus, riders will be able to park right outside Gate One at the Racing Capital of the World. This is as close as it gets to all of Race Day’s most exciting action.


The true sign that May is here is when Indy 500 flags hit the sky. Each year, several Central Indiana landmarks raise Indy 500 flags to celebrate the start of the greatest month of racing. You can participate, too! Get your Indy 500 flag and show the city your May Feeling.


Every year, we rev up excitement for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge by bringing our local business and race fans together. HandleBar Hot Laps make colleagues work together and take on other downtown Indianapolis businesses in a 48-team, single elimination HandleBar race with the ultimate bragging rights on the line.

Races will start at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, May 17 on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis.


Give a local artist creative freedom to rethink the famed Wing and Wheel and what do you get? A fun and cool interactive art piece that’s perfect for sharing on social media! #IndyWings are back all across Central Indiana. You can find #IndyWings in Indianapolis neighborhoods like Fountain Square, Mass Ave., Broad Ripple and Speedway. You can also grab a photo at your favorite Simon Mall (Castleton, Circle Center, Fashion Mall and Greenwood), as well as in several Central Indiana locations: Fishers, Franklin Township, Noblesville and Westfield.


The Indianapolis Motor Speedway almost never sleeps during May, and neither does nearby Main Street in Speedway. One of the many events to attend should be “Taste of Speedway” on Thursday, April 17! Sample delicious appetizers from various Speedway establishments and network with neighbors and local business leaders. Also, be sure to sign up for the “Run with Racers” event and join the Speedway Running Club and Speedway Bike Club as walkers, runners and bikers venture through the streets of Speedway. As Race weekend quickly approaches, hit up Main Street for the 14th annual “Rockin’ on Main” on Miller Lite Carb Day evening, Friday, May 22.


IMS Historian Donald Davidson is continuing to promote the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and its century-long ties to communities throughout the state and beyond with his Midwest Engagement Tour. The incomparable historian will take his speaking tour throughout the region and share his endless IMS knowledge with fans in Q&A sessions.


If you filled IMS to capacity 12 times, you’d see the number of Americans diagnosed with skin cancer every year. Don’t be one of them! IMS is teaming with Outrun the Sun to remind fans to be sun safe.

When you’re heading to IMS, wear sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. Attending the Indy 500? Visit sun safety stations near Gates 1, 3, 6, 9 and the Midway for free sunscreen and UV wristbands. Watch for sun safety messages on the video board and in your race program.


Everyone loves a good party, and Indy 500 porch parties are no exception! Aside from being at the Speedway, there’s no better way to celebrate the most magical month of the year in Central Indiana than by holding your own racing-themed porch party. In partnership with the Harrison Center for the Arts, race fans are encouraged to celebrate the Month of May by registering for official porch parties. Show off your May feeling by posting your porch party photos on social media with the hashtag #PorchPartyIndy.

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Youth Outreach


Indianapolis 500 Community Day was created to teach young kids about the importance of nutrition, well-being and physical fitness, among other health initiatives. Each year, we focus on bringing together drivers entered in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and children in local Indianapolis schools. Community Day initiatives have visited nearly 50 schools and almost 12,000 students. This year’s Community Day will be Wednesday, May 20.


The 500 Festival works with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on several youth educational programs that teach kids about the importance of health & nutrition, education, safety and the STEM field as it relates to INDYCAR. Each year, many schools take part in the 500 Festival and Indianapolis 500 Education Program through Mobile Trips, which are conducted at their school, or a Study Trip to the Speedway at no cost to the schools. During these visits, students are taught through interactive, hands-on lessons.


Create new memories with your kids at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway through the fastest kids club in town! Kids club memberships offer children the chance to interact with fellow young race fans, play fun games, attend exclusive kids club events and meet their favorite drivers!


The highly successful “Welcome Race Fans” program that depicts the most popular words during the Month of May is expanding to give kids the opportunity to welcome the world to Indianapolis. The Youth Welcome Race Fans program will allow kids to create original artwork themed around “Welcome Race Fans.” Their artwork will be displayed throughout Indianapolis, and the kids will receive a monetary award for their work.

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Safety is of the utmost importance to IMS, and those that keep us safe during the largest single-day sporting event are our first responders. As a token of gratitude to all our first responders, IMS welcomes thousands of first responders through the gates during the Month of May. We work with All Clear Foundation to distribute tickets to first responders. All Clear Foundation’s mission is to improve the life expectancy and well-being of all first responders, including law enforcement, fire, EMS and dispatch. Learn more and donate here.


Hosting the largest single-day sporting event on the planet on one of the most patriotic holidays in America means one thing: we’re serious about honoring and celebrating active-duty military members and veterans. With the help of incredible partners in Gainbridge, Global Medical Response and more, we work with Wish For Our Heroes to distribute race tickets to military members during the Month of May and for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Wish For Our Heroes assists military members with basic needs and emergencies, including but not limited to putting food on the table, assisting with car repairs, clothing and much more. Learn more and donate here.

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