Here in Indianapolis, May is undoubtedly a favorite time among Indy residents, who celebrate the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (the Indy 500) all month long with a series of events like the 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard. Every Spring, as the temperatures heat up and the skies get sunnier, Indianapolis gears up to pay tribute to the biggest spectacle in racing and the most celebrated event in the history of Indianapolis sports. Breakfast at the Brickyard, organized by the 500 Festival, is only one of many exciting activities that residents can look forward during the few weeks leading up to the race and one of the most eagerly anticipated Indianapolis events of the season. The 5oo Festival, a nonprofit organization, was formed with the mission of celebrating the overwhelming success of the Indy 500 and giving Indianapolis citizens a reason to toast their great city.
As the days close in each year on the much anticipated race, the Festival hosts events all over the circle city, from the streets of downtown Indy to Speedway, Indiana, the home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy 500 and the unofficial capital of all things racing. The 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard, also sometimes referred to as the Mayor’s Breakfast, is one of the events that actually takes place at the track. Each year, nearly 80 mayors from all over the state attend this special event, along with many of the race car drivers and notable people from Indianapolis.
Among all the special guests at the event, one group in particular stands out: the 500 Festival Princesses. These 33 young women serve as ambassadors of the festival and reign over all of the events leading up to the race. They represent several Indianapolis colleges, such as IUPUI and UIndy. Breakfast at the Brickyard is a big moment for these young ladies, as guests at the event have the opportunity to watch one of them crowned the queen of the 500 Festival. The Queen will receive the honor of presenting the winner of the Indy 500 with his traditional sip of milk during the 500 Festival Victory Circle Celebration.
Guests at the event will be glad they got up early, because not only are they treated to a big Hoosier breakfast, at the conclusion of the morning, they are invited to experience a moment in the life of a race car driver and take a lap around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway in their own vehicles. There is plenty of action to be had all morning at the track, as the breakfast usually takes place only a couple of weeks before the big day.
The tireless efforts of the 500 Festival’s organizers all pay off during those final few weeks before the race. The weekend before the checkered flag waves, Indy residents as well as the drivers are treated to several splashy events, including the world’s largest half-marathon, the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, and the 500 Festival Parade. This televised affair features the drivers, princesses, and local personalities. Last but not least, the Regions 500 Festival Snakepit Ball occurs on the evening before the race, which allows residents to mingle with the stars as a red carpet is rolled out before guests are whisked inside the Indiana Roof Ballroom to dance the night away. These events are broadcast on Indianapolis media, including WTHR Channel 13, Channel 8 WISH TV, and several local radio stations, so even if you’re not there in person, you won’t miss the fun.
When May rolls around in Indy this year, make sure to get your fill of the summertime culture of Indianapolis and get your tickets to the 500 Festival at the Brickyard and all the other exciting events in Indianapolis that build up to the greatest spectacle in racing!
500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
470 W 16th St