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500 Festival makes changes to May events due to COVID-19 pandemic

Some events will be virtual, while others will be invitation-only. Unfortunately, the 500 Festival had to cancel some in-person events as well.

INDIANAPOLIS — The 500 Festival has shared an update on the upcoming events for the month of May leading up to the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 30.

The nonprofit organization worked closely with community and government leaders to develop plans to ensure the safety of all ticket-holders, volunteers, staff, spectators and surrounding communities.

Virtual events

As previously announced, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K will both be virtual again this year. The decision was announced March 1.

The Salesforce & JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Rookie Run will also be virtual this year.

There will be multiple ways to virtually take part in the 500 Festival Volunteer Program, presented by Citizens Energy Group. More information will be announced soon.

Invitation-only events

The celebrations begin Friday, May 5 with a 500 Festival Kickoff to May, presented by STAR Bank on Monument Circle from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will not be open to the public, but 13News will stream the festivities on our website, mobile news app and Facebook page.

The 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by Midwestern Engineers, Inc., will be held Saturday, May 22 as an invitation-only event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Due to limited capacity, individual tickets or tables will not be available for purchase.

The American Legion 500 Festival Memorial Service will take place Friday, May 28 at the Indiana War Memorial as an invitational-only event.

Canceled events

The Salesforce & JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Kids' Day, previously scheduled for May 15, will not take place in person this year. An online interactive Kids' Day Map will go live on May 15, where families and kids will have the opportunity to visit educational booths and follow along with entertaining videos. 

The 500 Festival will give out over 3,000 Kids' Day-themed backpacks, filled with essentials, educational items, toys, and games to youth-serving organizations in Marion County. 

The AES 500 Festival Parade, previously scheduled for May 29, will not take place this year. A new community celebration, called "500 Spectacle of Homes" will happen throughout the month of May in neighborhoods across Indianapolis.

500 Festival Off the Grid, presented by KeyBank, will not happen this year. Instead, funds that would have gone toward the black-tie event will now be used to create and deliver an "Off the Grid Gift Box" for central Indiana health care workers so they can enjoy a VIP experience at their home, continuing the reach of the 2020 project.

The 500 Festival Foundation is now accepting donations from the public to support the creation of gift baskets that will be given to health care heroes. To support these frontline workers in this effort, text the code "HEALTHCAREVIPS" to 44321.

Education study program trips and mobile trips through the 500 Festival & Indianapolis 500 Education Program, presented by Indiana University Health, will not take place this year. The 500 Festival will send more information in the coming weeks to educators involved in the program about virtual resources and opportunities to engage classrooms in new ways.

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Click here to see more details on the 500 Festival's programs and events.