Planning an Indy 500 Corporate Party

Fast cars, high emotions, incredible history…it’s no secret why the Indy 500 is called “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”. It’s also a perfect reason for your company to throw a party! And when it’s time to throw down for an Indianapolis 500 corporate party, we here at Snappening call in the big guns and ask an expert. Today’s blog includes top-notch event planning insight from one of Indy’s own event planners, Elizabeth Lenzi Wertz of Maraschino Events. Maraschino Events, got their start in the event world from years of experience in Indy 500 and INDYCAR-related events, and is perfectly positioned to offer advice on the “The Greatest Spectacles in Race Parties”!

Creating the Guest List
Before you get down to planning, you’ll need to consider who you’d like to cater the party toward. Wertz offers these varied suggestions based on your crowd:
Friends & Family
Treat your company employees, families and supporters to a fun shindig that allows them to reconnect outside of the everyday work life. Family-friendly options are best to consider, such as a catered picnic with race-themed decor, or bring out some friendly competition with a go-kart race at a local karting facility.
Clients, Customers, and Reps
With such a huge event in town, it’s a great opportunity to showcase not only what Indianapolis has to offer, but what your company has to offer. Consider hosting the event at your store or office building, which helps create a more personal connection between your guests and your company’s brand and saves money on venue costs. Custom touches like goodie bags filled with treats from local shops and tasteful displays of your company’s products or services can create a lasting impression.

Now that you’ve decided who to invite, you’ll need to decide what kind of party you’d like to host. Options are endless, but having a strong plan in mind prior to the month of May is a good idea to help you maximize your impact and results for your company and your guests. Elizabeth suggests these two basic options as a starting point:

Pre-Race Partying

One of the great things about the Indianapolis 500 is that it’s not just one day at the track— opening day is about two weeks from race day, so there’s plenty of activity and buzz around the city during the entire month of May! If many of your guests will be attending the race or are otherwise busy on race weekend, consider hosting a corporate event the weekend before during the Indy 500 qualifications. Set up TVs throughout the event space to watch the action at the track and create table tent cards with information about various drivers and teams. Have guests try to guess who will make it into the top 9, or which driver will be the fastest. Create a themed candy or dessert bar, and have a barbeque or local food trucks bring the fun, “track food” atmosphere to your guests’ plates.

A Race Weekend Soirée

On race weekend (which is also Memorial Day weekend!) the city will be bustling with activity as guests come in from out of town and everyone prepares for the big event. Host a black-and-white cocktail party the night before the race, where the bar becomes an “Ethanol Filling Station” with race-themed cocktails (INDYCARtini, anyone?). If you couldn’t make it to the race, host a casual viewing party that evening, when the race is shown on local channels.

Need help in pulling it all off?

Consider hiring a professional corporate event planner to assist you in planning your Indy 500 party. From complete party planning to simply helping with vendor recommendations and decor ideas, an event planner can make your party memorable and allow you to focus on the rest of your busy schedule! Vroom!

Elizabeth Lenzi Wertz is a guest blogger for Snappening and event planner of Maraschino Events, a full-service event planning, coordination and consultation company that focuses on events for and involving local Indianapolis businesses and organizations.