March 30, 2021

500 Festival Parade Won't Happen In Its Traditional Form This May

A float makes its way down Pennsylvania Street in downtown Indianapolis during the 2015 500 Festival Parade. - FILE PHOTO: sarahstierch/CC-BY-2.0

A float makes its way down Pennsylvania Street in downtown Indianapolis during the 2015 500 Festival Parade.

FILE PHOTO: sarahstierch/CC-BY-2.0

The 500 Festival’s traditional parade will not be held in person again this year because of COVID-19 safety concerns.

The nonprofit announced details Tuesday for its lineup of events in the Month of May. Festival President and CEO Bob Bryant said despite changes due to the pandemic, the celebration will continue.

“We're excited to be able to do several of the things that we're used to doing in May, but maybe some in new ways and some a continuation of some of the success we had in this past year with virtual events,” Bryant said. “So, it's kind of a combination of everything we will have with some opportunities to do some things in person.”

In place of the parade, the festival and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will partner on a neighborhood-based event called the “500 Spectacle of Homes” throughout the month. It will culminate on the Saturday before the Indianapolis 500 with a “reverse parade,” including a caravan of the 33 Indy 500 drivers from the speedway, throughout surrounding neighborhoods and downtown Indianapolis. Bryant said the organization’s focus is on events that will keep fans engaged.

“I hope there's ways we can all be involved, certainly that's our job, from a community perspective is just to stay relevant and give people opportunities to participate, even if those look a little different last year and this year.”

The 500 Festival said it will contact parade ticket holders this week with more information. 

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