INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Excitement is building as Indianapolis prepares to host the 100th running of the Indy 500. The race is just over two months away, and planning is in full swing.
“We are one of the very few events in the country that is 100 years old, and its right here in Indiana,” said Allison Melangton, who is on the Indy 500 Host Committee.
The 500 is older than the Super Bowl and the Masters, and officials say it’s one of the few sporting events that Indy has ownership of.
“This one is Indiana’s own,” said Kristi Gaynor, who is also on the host committee. “This is Indiana’s Indy 500 and we want all residents to understand that; all residents in all 92 counties.”
The host committee is planning events for the entire month across the whole state. Fans can host an official party or even volunteer for the big race.
“It’s an iconic event. We need to get around it. We need to celebrate it,” Gaynor said.
“Anytime an event turns 100 I think there’s staying power and, of course, you’re going to have ebbs and flows with viewership and visitors and attendance, but we’re very confident that this year in particular will be blockbuster,” Visit Indy’s Chris Gahl said.
Visitors are expected from as far away as Germany and the UK. Gahl says hotels are already seeing a 10 to 15 percent increase in bookings over last year.
“The 100th running of the Indy 500: that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. So we know that not only locals but within the state regionally and even nationally and internationally will race into Indianapolis for this bucket list event,” Gahl said.
The host committee is planning a major marketing push beginning April 1st. The say the overall idea is to not just get people here for the Indy 500, but also the other races like the Grand Prix and events like the mini marathon.