500 FESTIVAL CANCELS ALL REMAINING IN-PERSON EVENTS FOR 2020

INDIANAPOLIS (July 22, 2020) – The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500®, today announced that it is will cancel its remaining in-person events in 2020. In April, the 500 Festival announced that it intended to move its event lineup to August, provided that the appropriate environment could be guaranteed for spectators, participants, volunteers and staff. As a nonprofit organization that hosts large scale events in Indy’s public spaces, the 500 Festival faced a number of unique challenges as they explored the necessary policies and plans. After extensive evaluation, and out of an abundance of caution, the 500 Festival determined it is not able to host its remaining 2020 events. With in-person events removed from the calendar, the 500 Festival will continue its focus on creating new ways for the community to celebrate the Indianapolis 500 virtually.

The following events will not take place in 2020:

  • 500 Festival Kickoff to May, presented by STAR Bank
  • Salesforce & JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day and Rookie Run
  • 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by Midwestern Engineers, Inc.
  • 500 Festival Volunteer Appreciation Day, presented by Citizens Energy Group
  • 500 Festival Memorial Service, presented by Rolls-Royce
  • IPL 500 Festival Parade
  • 500 Festival mini-mini

“We worked closely with local and state officials as well as local health experts, our partners at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and corporate partners to ensure that every potential option was evaluated. As an organization that produces large community events held in public spaces, we faced a number of unique challenges compared to an event hosted in a standalone venue,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “This decision was not made lightly. With a wide range of programs and events that engage various audiences, the 500 Festival reached this conclusion with the utmost respect for the history and family traditions that will be impacted. We’re disappointed but we know that this is in the best interest of public health as well as the vitality of the 500 Festival for generations to come.”

In the months since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 500 Festival’s staff and board of directors have closely researched and monitored the ever-changing conditions relative to public health. After a great deal of consideration by the 500 Festival’s board of directors and staff, the difficult decision was made to forgo producing its remaining in-person public events. While the 500 Festival’s events will not take place in-person, the organization will continue their nearly 65-year tradition of celebrating ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indy 500, through a variety of virtual opportunities, programs, events and experiences. The 500 Festival will continue to add new virtual experiences and opportunities to its New Way to May webpage located at 500festival.com/anewwaytomay.

2020 marks the 64th year of the 500 Festival and the IPL 500 Festival Parade, one of the organization’s original events. This is the first time in 500 Festival history that the organization’s traditional schedule of events will not take place during the days leading up to the Indy 500. Each year the 500 Festival produces nearly 50 life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and positively impact on the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana. More than half a million people are impacted by a 500 Festival event or program. Since its founding, the 500 Festival has contributed more than $500 million in economic value to Indianapolis.

“We appreciate the overwhelming support of the community, our sponsors, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and city and state officials throughout this process. We are in lockstep with our longtime partners at IMS and together, both organizations are united in our core focus of accomplishing the Indy 500. By removing the 500 Festival’s events from the public calendar, we are able to shift our efforts and resources towards making this year’s Indy 500 race a success. We are proud to continue our nearly 65-year tradition of supporting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ the Indianapolis 500, however we can,” continued Bryant.

The decision to forgo the remaining 500 Festival events in 2020 was made with the interest of the public’s health as well as the organization’s financial health. Proceeds from all 500 Festival ticketed events like the IPL 500 Festival Parade help support the organization’s free youth programming, which impacted 100,000 Hoosier kids in 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has faced a substantial financial hardship resulting from the cancelations of its in-person events. Despite these challenges, the 500 Festival remains committed to providing creative new opportunities to celebrate the Indy 500 and building upon the success of its new virtual experiences, like the Indianapolis 500 Mile Challenge.

“While the days and weeks leading up to the Indy 500 won’t be the same without the 500 Festival’s lineup of community events, we appreciate the many unique challenges faced by the organization. The 500 Festival is one of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s longest and most dedicated partners and we are fully supportive of their decision. We’re looking forward to the Festival’s virtual celebrations leading up to the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 this August and we can’t wait to rejoin their community celebrations in May 2021,” said J. Douglas Boles, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and 500 Festival board director.

“For the last 13 years, Indianapolis Power & Light Company, an AES company, has proudly supported the 500 Festival organization and Indianapolis community by serving as title sponsor for the IPL 500 Festival Parade. Moving forward, our commitment to one of the nation’s largest, most respected parades remains unchanged. We value what the parade offers to Hoosiers and visitors who gather to experience larger-than-life floats, giant balloons, celebrities and other dignitaries, marching bands, entertainers and the 33 drivers competing in the Indianapolis 500. We support the decision to cancel the IPL 500 Festival Parade this year to protect the health and safety of our people, our community and visitors. We look forward to seeing spectators along the downtown Indianapolis parade route in 2021,” said Tanya Sovinski, IPL’s director of community relations and 500 Festival board director.

Relevant details and options will be communicated directly to all 500 Festival event ticket buyers in the coming days. Details regarding any new virtual events for 2020 will also be announced as they are finalized and shared on the 500 Festival’s websites and social media.

Questions? Contact info@500festival.com


500 FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES NEW DATES FOR 2020 EVENTS

Festival intends to move lineup of community events to August, complimenting new date for Indianapolis 500

April 8, 2020 – The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500®, today announced its revised calendar of events for 2020. The 500 Festival intends to produce an event lineup throughout August to reflect the newly announced date of the 104th Indianapolis 500.

The 500 Festival’s Intended Calendar of Events:

  • 500 Festival Kickoff to May, presented by STAR Bank: Friday, August 7, 2020
  • Salesforce & JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day and Rookie Run: Saturday, August 8, 2020
  • 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by Midwestern Engineers, Inc.: Saturday, August 15, 2020
  • 500 Festival Volunteer Appreciation Day: Saturday, August 15, 2020
  • 500 Festival Memorial Service, presented by Rolls-Royce: Friday, August 21, 2020
  • 500 Festival Off the Grid, presented by KeyBank: Friday, August 21, 2020
  • IPL 500 Festival Parade: Saturday, August 22, 2020

“We recognize the difficulty in scheduling public events during this ever-changing environment. At this time, we are putting together an intended schedule of events with the understanding that there is much to transpire between now and August. We will continue to follow the guidance and direction of health officials to ensure the appropriate environment for our participants, volunteers and staff,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “We’re also working on new ways for everyone to experience our events and programs virtually and find new ways to relish in our cherished May traditions without compromising public health. This is a challenging time for everyone, but we’re all #INthistogether.”

The 500 Festival continues to work through relevant details for 2020 events taking place in the new timeframe. More event details, including schedules and programming, will be announced as soon as they are finalized. Tickets already purchased for the 500 Festival’s 2020 events (Parade, Breakfast at the Brickyard, and Off the Grid) will be valid on the rescheduled dates. However, should these new dates conflict with ticket buyers’ schedules, the 500 Festival will offer other options. Full details and ticketing options will be communicated to ticket buyers within the next week.

The 500 Festival will continue to monitor and make necessary adjustments to future COVID-19 regulations. We will work closely with local, state and federal officials as well as local health care experts, our partners at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, corporate partners and others to ensure a safe and healthy experience for spectators and participants. This includes the addition of enhanced measures that will be in place at rescheduled events as well as adjustments and precautions in anticipation of the expected heat and humidity in August. Any additional measures will be announced as they occur and shared on the 500 Festival’s websites and social media as soon as they are finalized.

Proceeds from all 500 Festival ticketed events help support the organization’s free programming for youth and college students. The 2020 schedule of events is subject to change.

Questions? Contact info@500festival.com


A MONTH OF MAY UPDATE FROM THE 500 FESTIVAL

March 27, 2020 – In addition to the event changes that we announced last week, the 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by Midwestern Engineers, Inc., the 500 Festival Memorial Service, presented by Rolls-Royce, the IPL 500 Festival Parade, and the 500 Festival Off the Grid, presented by KeyBank, will not take place on their previously scheduled dates this May. With new timing for the Indianapolis 500 announced by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday, the 500 Festival is committed to providing a calendar of community events that precede the 2020 race.

We are working through a number of different scenarios and we will do everything possible to reschedule these events for later in the year. We will also continue to be mindful of the resources that help us produce these community events, including volunteers, medical personnel, IMPD, the Indiana National Guard, Homeland Security, Indianapolis Motor Speedway staff, corporate partners and many others. The 500 Festival will announce the new dates, event details and ticketing information for rescheduled events as soon as they are finalized. 

Thank you for your continued patience and support as we endeavor to keep the spirit of May relevant and meaningful in this challenging time for everyone. Be well!


500 FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES SUSPENSION OF ADDITIONAL EVENTS DUE TO COVID-19

March 18, 2020 – The 500 Festival is suspending all planned, in-person events scheduled through May 9, 2020. The suspension of these events is in accordance with the CDC’s updated guidance to cancel, postpone or provide virtual options for all large events for the next 8 weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The 500 Festival is doing everything possible to minimize the economic impact and ramifications that will be experienced as a result of canceling these in-person events.

The following 500 Festival in-person events will need to be conducted as virtual events, rescheduled or canceled:

  • OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K (May 2) – All 2020 Indy Mini events will move to virtual races. Individuals registered for this year’s races will receive details on how to participate virtually and still earn their 2020 shirt and medal. Other options, including lending a hand in support of the 500 Festival’s free programs for kids or rolling registration over to next year, will be communicated to participants in the coming days. The in-person events will NOT take place.
  • 500 Festival Kick Off to May, presented by STAR Bank (April 29) – The in-person event will NOT take place. There will be an announcement soon regarding ways the community can participate virtually.
  • Salesforce & JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day and Rookie Run (May 9) – The in-person event will NOT take place. We will reschedule this event to another date as guidance related to public events is provided.
  • 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Expo (April 30 & May 1) – The in-person event will NOT take place. Virtual goodie bags will be sent to participants.
  • All 500 Festival & Indianapolis 500 Education Program Study Trips at IMS (April 2020) – All in-person events will NOT take place. Schools will be mailed some additional materials.
  • This list is in addition to the other 500 Festival event cancelations that were announced last week

“The 500 Festival recognizes the unique and challenging times that we are all facing together. May will certainly look different than the last 60+ years but with options to participate virtually or to reschedule some events to a future date we are confident that the future looks bright and the things we hold dearly will continue albeit in a different form,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “As a community nonprofit organization, the 500 Festival looks forward to providing events and programs that enrich lives, foster positive community impact and celebrate the Indy 500. To our participants, volunteers, interns, corporate and civic partners – Thank you for your support!”

To the registered participants of the 2020 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K, we know that many of you have logged countless hours of training and have made numerous commitments to experience the thrill of crossing the finish line. We don’t take your commitments lightly and want you to know that we have exhausted all possible solutions to provide the Indy Mini experience that you’ve come to expect over the last 43 years. We have also been cognizant of the resources that help us produce this community event which includes thousands of volunteers, medical personnel, IMPD, the Indiana National Guard, Homeland Security, Indianapolis Motor Speedway staff, corporate partners and many others. Given our current situation and out of respect for the ever-changing needs of those resource partners as well as the health and safety of our participants, it has become clear that moving our 2020 races to virtual runs is the best possible choice. In addition to the participant options, we are also committed to providing you with an on-track running and walking experience at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway at a to-be-determined date.

 

CLICK HERE for up to date guidance and information from the Indiana State Department of Health

CLICK HERE for up to date guidance and information from the Marion County Health Department