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IMS Announces Big Plans for Community Engagement Leading Up to the Indy 500

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced today a new collaborative community effort, 500 Forward, to elevate and extend celebrations surrounding the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil and the Month of May.

500 Forward consists of 13 partner organizations paired with IMS to execute programming and events that celebrate the Greatest Month in Racing and support worthy civic initiatives through the legacy and appeal of the Indianapolis 500.

“Indiana’s reputation for hosting world-class sporting events is fueled entirely by our unique ability to build diverse community coalitions in support of common goals,” said Allison Melangton, Hulman Motorsports senior vice president of events. “500 Forward provides a fantastic opportunity to harness the collective energy of our community partners and volunteers to boost the entire Month of May and Indiana’s continued reputation as a global sports capital.”

500 Forward will engage community partner organizations in Indianapolis and the state of Indiana in five important areas:

  • Welcoming visitors to Indianapolis while showcasing the best the city offers.
  • Providing programming that ignites excitement and pride for the Indianapolis 500 in downtown Indianapolis and surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Supporting programs that build and enhance the culture of Indianapolis.
  • Enriching the community by supporting local non-profit organizations as they celebrate the Indianapolis 500.
  • Connecting all corners of the state of Indiana to the traditions and celebrations surrounding the Indianapolis 500.

The 500 Forward effort formed as a natural evolution of the 100th Running Host Committee, a network of 12 committees and 38 subcommittees that helped build unprecedented exposure and anticipation for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May 2016. Some host committee programs will return through 500 Forward, while new programs also will be launched.

The 500 Forward programs and events unveiled today include:

  • 500 Fashion Fridays: A partnership with Downtown Indy Inc. encouraging downtown workers to incorporate racing and the Indianapolis 500 into their Friday outfits. Stay tuned for more information on this initiative soon!
  • Welcome Program: A collaboration with Visit Indy, the Indianapolis Airport Authority and Hamilton Country Tourism to ensure amped-up hospitality for visitors during the Month of May. This will include welcome signage at Indianapolis International Airport and more than 30 hotels in Indianapolis and Hamilton County. Taxi cab drivers will also receive special Indy 500 advocate training and checkered car flags.
  • Indy 500 Porch Parties: A popular program returning through support from the Harrison Center for the Arts. Central Indiana residents are once again encouraged to celebrate the Month of May with officially registered porch parties. Last year, more than 500 events took place!
  • 500 Gives Back: A grant program administered by the 500 Festival to support community organizations implementing life-enriching events, activities and programs, while also celebrating the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500.
  • Bike to the 500: The second annual ride will take place on Race Day, Sunday, May 28. Last year, more than 800 fans participated. Help us set a new record this year!
  • “Welcome Race Fans”: Five local artists have been commissioned by the Arts Council of Indianapolis to create unique, racing-themed pieces of art that will debut in late April and be placed throughout the community during the Month of May.
  • Downtown Décor: A collaboration with Visit Indy to deck out downtown Indianapolis in racing-themed décor.

Organizations participating in 500 Forward include the 500 Festival, Arts Council of Indianapolis, City of Indianapolis, Downtown Indy, Hamilton County Tourism, Harrison Center for the Arts, IMS Museum, Indiana Humanities, Indianapolis Airport Authority, IndyHub, IndyCog, Speedway Chamber of Commerce and Visit Indy.

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