This year’s 500 Festival slogan is short and sweet: Indianapolis defines May. You would have to be living under a rock (that’s living under an even larger rock that’s living under an even larger rock with retail space at the bottom and apartments above) to not know that this city shakes off the heavy months of Cloudy and Cold like no other.
May in Indy is just damn special. Our city is top-notch the rest of the year, but in May it’s top of the notch. You probably know the reasons why, but it’s fun to review.
The first weekend in May kicks off the month with the world’s largest half marathon, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon. Starting downtown and including a lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it attracts some of the world’s elite runners, while also providing an opportunity for runners of all levels be part of a wonderful event – and kiss the Speedway bricks, too!
Other major events this month include the IndyCar Grand Prix, the Broad Ripple Art Fair, and the introduction of long-tailed macaques at the Indianapolis Zoo, the only place where this species of monkey can be seen in North America. Definitely, top of the notch.
As we approach May’s apex, the city’s landscape changes. Parade stands pepper downtown sidewalks. Checkered flags adorn neighborhood lawns. From clothing to shoes to hair accessories, black & white is the new black. And the city of Speedway, Indiana – population 12,000 – becomes the center of the world’s racing universe.
Let’s run down the weekend’s highlights and some interesting facts:
Friday, May 25 : Carb Day
The traditional last practice run before the Indy 500, this day-long event features the Pit Stop Challenge, Indy Lights Freedom 100 and culminates in a concert (this year’s performances are by Blues Traveler and Train).
Saturday, May 26: IPL 500 Festival Parade
One of the country’s largest parades, this year’s version features Abby Abel and Mitch Bonar as the Grand Marshals. These Purdue and Ivy Tech students’ lives were changed when they joined their high schools’ Unified Track and Field team, which places people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team to compete (Mitch has cerebral palsy). Since that time, they have worked to create a world without the stigma and perception against people with intellectual disabilities.
The Parade, as always, will include all 33 Indianapolis 500 drivers. This year’s 500 pace car driver, Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers, will also participate along with marching bands, the 500 Festival Princesses, celebrities and more.
Get Your Glamp On
Out at the track, where race fans are already gathering, this year’s Firestone Legends Day Concert features Sam Hunt. Meanwhile, spectators from around the world have descended on Speedway. Let the glamping begin!
Sunday, May 27: The Indianapolis 500: The Greatest Spectacle in Racing
The 102nd running of this revered sporting event has a special place in our hearts here at CVR. One of our clients, Allison Transmission, has deep roots with the 500. The company’s founder, James A. Allison, was also one of the founders of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He established the company—originally called the Speedway Team Company—to support his Indianapolis 500 racing activities. Now a global entity with over six million transmissions sold worldwide, the company’s world headquarters are still located in Speedway where it all began.
We’ve got another race connection, too. While we know Tony Kanaan has become an Indy favorite, we’re particularly fond of the driver from Brazil (the country, not the Indiana town just off US-40). Bryant Heating & Cooling, another CVR client, is a Kanaan sponsor. While we don’t want to appear to have favorites (May!), we’ll just say that everyone who’s ever met TK says the same thing: super nice, genuine, warm guy. The CVR office pool aside, who doesn’t want to root for that?
Monday, May 28: Memorial Day
The culmination of the month is, of course, the most important. Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War. Originally known as Decoration Day, it became a federal holiday in 1971.
All of us at CVR would like to take this opportunity to honor the men and women who have given their lives serving our country to protect our freedom, and to thank those who currently serve. We salute you.
No matter how you choose to spend your holiday weekend, we wish you a safe, enjoyable and relaxing time. Soak up all that May still has to offer. After all, this is Indy.