Wandering Wednesday: Celebrating the 100th Indianapolis 500 | Family Friendly Events for a Memorable Month of May

We are so pumped for this Wandering Wednesday post. A guest post from a #fabFortville resident who adores IndyCar and the month of May in Indy more than anyone we know! Thank-you to Kara Fleck for sharing all that is wonderful about Indy in the month of May, especially this year! Make sure to jump over and check her blog out at K. Elizabeth Fleck.

Family Friendly Events for a Memorable Month of May in Indy

At long last, an event a century in the making is here: the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. As a lifelong IndyCar fan, I alternate between wanting the race to hurry up and get here and wanting time to slow down so we can really savor each event leading up to the big day.

My family might be a little more IndyCar crazy than most, in fact my husband likes to joke that May is our Christmas, but I think we can all agree that this year everyone, from casual fan to strident trackside enthusiast, is excited for the checkered flag to wave crowning this year’s Indy 500 champion.

It will be legendary.

We’re celebrating a historic event, not just for race fans, but for Indiana. Our local history is married to the history of the Speedway and in many ways, the stories of the 500 contain the past one hundred years of Hoosier history, art, technology, ingenuity, and community. It’s heartbreak and victory, tradition and community.

So, how can you and your family be a part of what promises to be a legendary month? I’ve put together a list of some of my very favorite month of May events, traditions that I know will be even better than ever during this special birthday celebration. I’m also sharing some new events created just to celebrate this 100th year of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Family Friendly Ways to Celebrate the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 and Have a Memorable Month of May

All Month Long

Collect posters - all month long the Indy Arts council is celebrating the 100th running of the 500 and you can learn all the details at their website WelcomeRaceFansIndy.org (http://www.welcomeracefansindy.org) 33 original works of art can be found on display all around the Indianapolis area. See the full list here (http://www.welcomeracefansindy.org/more-info/) There are also nine different posters that fans can pick up and collect for FREE while supplies last.

Pin Trading - be on the lookout all month long for pin trading events. This is a fun souvenir and a neat way to connect with other race fans. Pippa Mann will be holding an event on the day of the Angie’s List Grand Prix at 12:05 in the plaza at the official IndyCar merchandise store and I’m sure other official events will pop up, too.

Practice Days - if you’d love to experience the speedway with your kids, but without the race day crowds, practice days are a good time to do so. Check the schedule for official days and times and don’t forget the ear protection, sunscreen, and to double check IMS’s rules for coolers and food and beverages. Cameras and your sharpies for getting driver photographs and autographs are a must, too. For more info, head to the IMS website and check the Event Schedule: http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/

Lionheart: Remembering Dan Wheldon - Dan Wheldon was a two time Indy 500 champion and a fan favorite. This month a tribute book is being released and there will be special signing events. Look for the Legends pop up shops at the speedway. More info about the Lionheart book can be found here: http://lionheartbook.com/

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum - If you and your family haven’t been to the IMS museum, it is a must do during this 100th Indy 500 celebration. This year there is a special exhibit celebrating Roger Penske and his 50 year career. Find the winning driver for the year you were born, take in the history and the heritage, ask questions, and check out some pretty cool cars. This is a learning experience as well as a fun day. The speedway has an app you can download to your phone so you’ll always know what time the museum is open and what events are coming up. You can also call 317-492-8500 for daily hours of operation.

Download the IndyCar app - While you’re downloading apps to your phone to enhance your month of May experience, the Verizon IndyCar mobile app is essential. Videos, news, podcasts, and the ability to check in on the standing of your favorite drivers will keep you and your kids up to speed all month and beyond as you follow the series this season.

Listen to Trackside - all month long you can listen to the radio show Trackside Online with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee. In fact, keeping the radio to 1070theFan (http://www.1070thefan.com/indy500) during the month of May is probably a good idea. They do an excellent job of covering the entire month and always have discussions that are a fun blend of history, current events, and interesting guests.

Mark Your Calendar

(May 17, May 24) Indy 500 Film Nights at the Irvington Library - all ages are invited to the library to view historic race highlight films. These events are FREE. Showtimes begin at 7pm and you can find the full schedule of films to be shown each night at the library’s website here: http://www.indypl.org/events/featured/indy-500-film-nights-irvington/ or call 317-275-4450 for more information about these free Library programs.

(May 13) Festival on Main, Speedway’s Main Street - this year is going to be bigger and better than ever to celebrate the 100th. It’s a FREE family event and concert featuring favorite Hoosier artists Jon McLaughlin, Josh Kaufmann, and the Hunter Smith Band. From 5 to 11 pm families can join in the celebration thanks to the Indy Family Foundation. General admission for this event is FREE and open to the public. For more information, head here: http://www.indyfamilyfoundation.com/

(May 14) The Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis - IndyCars on a road course is a sight not to be missed. 82 laps, 14 turns, and 200 miles of excitement. Bring your kids (twelve and under are FREE when accompanied by an adult with a general admission ticket) to this family-friendly race on Saturday, May 14. Best selling Indiana author John Green will be driving the pace car. Plus, it will be a great time to see the newly remodeled IMS plaza and entrance to the speedway. Tickets are still available. General admission starts at $30 and reserved seating starts at $40.

(May 19) Winning movie - Bring a lawn chair and head to the yard of bricks for a special screening of this 1969 classic starring Paul Newman. In Cooperation with ARTx and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, watch this movie in a truly legendary setting. Seating will begin at 7:30 and the movie will be shown at 9pm. Cooler, food, and beverage rules apply.
(Note: this event is expected to sell out, so grab your tickets fast if you’re interested in attending with your family.)

Carb Night Burger Bash - our family has been attending this FREE event for years and we love it. This year it will be moving to a new location. Grab your family and head downtown to the PanAm Plaza for “a driver-centered show co-hosted by IndyStar reporter Curt Cavin and veteran broadcaster Kevin Lee. IndyCar drivers expected to attend include Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter. Look for Indy 500 legends to stop by, too.” Doors open at 5:00pm and the live show starts at 6:30.

(May 28) The 500 Festival Parade - the 33 drivers of the Indy 500 will be the honorary Grand Marshals of this parade, a time honored tradition. Catch it live downtown from noon to 1:30 or watch it on WTHR. 300,000 are expected to be there, joined by another million watching across the country.

(May 29) The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 - The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is a once in a lifetime event and my family cannot wait. This event has sold out, so expect larger crowds, longer waits, and more traffic than ever. Set your kids up for success and if you know they won’t be able to handle a long, loud day consider waiting to take them to a race when they are older. Infield parking has also sold out, so be prepared to walk to your seat. But for older kids who are up for a long day of exciting racing, this is going to be an event to remember. There's a family viewing area.  Don’t forget to bring ear protection, sun protection, and to check the forecast so your family will be prepared and ready to have a good day at the track.
Television coverage - ABC television coverage for the race is blacked out locally, but the race will be rerun for local audiences that night and for the first time it will be rebroadcast the following Monday.

We also like to watch the Victory Banquet on television. Each driver collects his prize check and makes a speech and it is a neat way to wrap up the month of May. You can find it broadcast by WTHR.

Need even MORE month of May ideas? Our friends at Indy With Kids have a list of 31 Things to Do in May. http://indywithkids.com/31-things-to-do-in-may-brought-to-you-by-childrens-dental-center/

Have a favorite family friendly Indy in the Month of May event I didn’t mention here? Drop it in the comments below so the rest of us can share in the family fun, too.

Whether you attend events at the speedway in person, or you and your family catch the race on television, this year’s Indianapolis 500 promises to be the stuff that legends are made of.

May - July 2016 Wandering Wednesdays brought to you by Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation and The Waterpark. Peeps, OPENING DAY is May 28th. Why not get your summer pass now?  All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank-you to the businesses that help support Fortville Mama. Your support is allowing us to make 2016 even cooler than 2015!

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