INDIANAPOLIS– Organizers of the 500 Festival announced Wednesday that all remaining in-person events for 2020 have been canceled.
They had hoped to move the lineup of events to August, but the 500 Festival ran into several challenges in the planning process. Out of an abundance of caution regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, it was determined the best course of action was to call the events off.
The following events won’t take place this year:
- 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
Organizers say they are working on creating new ways to celebrate the race virtually.
“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.”
This is the first time in the 500 Festival’s 64 years that the traditional schedule of events won’t take place leading up to race day.
“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,” said Bryant.
Details and options for 500 Festival event ticket buyers will be made available in the coming days.
“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.