Start Your Engines: How to Host an Indy 500 Party
When you combine 500 miles of track with more than a century of tradition, you naturally come up with one of the most beloved sporting events of the year. The Indianapolis 500 has stood the test of time as a favorite family event. It has everything you could hope for in a commercial sport — passion, drama, risk — and it all comes out the second you hear this famous line: "Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!"
And if you think that families everywhere aren’t cheering at the checkered flag, think again. "Three hundred thousand people attend this event every year. Race day television coverage extends to 213 countries and over 292 million households," shares Morgan Greenlee, senior communications manager for Visit Indy, whose job is to bring visitors into the great city of Indianapolis, especially for big events like the Indianapolis 500.
And what’s not to love? The Indy 500 is an event with limitless party potential; there are plenty of ideas that you can execute for any racing party. "Décor should be white and black with splashes of red, [and] yellow or green for flag colors," encourages Greenlee. "Parties should have tons of balloons, traffic cones, and checkered flags."
Greenlee also suggests you turn to traditional American tailgate fare for the event, but if you want an authentic menu, turn to the speedway for inspiration. "Those who really know the speedway [will] have biscuits and apple butter available as well as fried pork tenderloin sandwiches, often considered Indiana’s iconic dish."
While there are tons of ideas for how to host a standard race day party, there aren’t many that focus on the history of the iconic event. So if you are one of the 292 million households that will watch the race Sunday, May 26, Greenlee and The Daily Meal want to help you turn to true tradition and get your party started.