Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! It’s that time of year again. The 100th Indianapolis 500 is just over a week away! Who wants to miss out on one of Indy’s most famous events? We sure don’t! Grab your friends – who aren’t attending the race– and throw your own race day party.

Despite Indiana’s unpredictable weather patterns, the best race day parties are held outdoors. Fire up the grill, fill up the coolers and turn on the radio! Don’t forget decorations, food, beverages and entertainment!

The key to a successful race day party is a satisfied stomach and quenched thirst. Grill some hotdogs and hamburgers, or maybe some oversized turkey legs to really get in the spirit. Keep the sides simple with pasta salad, beer-cheese triangles and a fruit and veggie tray. Chips and dip are always crowd favorites, too! Top it all off with something sweet, like a racecar-shaped treat of your choice.

For beverages, throw a variety of sodas, water and beer into some coolers of ice. You’re going to need more than one… this 200 lap race will make you and your guests thirsty! To add some local flair, pick up some growlers of Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Company’s specialty beers, such as Two Lucy’s Blackberry Wheat or Snow Bunny Blonde. When the race is over and the winner is drinking the traditional glass of milk in Victory Lane, drink your own tasty White Russian.

A race day party would not be complete without racecar-themed decorations. Decorate outside by placing some old tires in your front yard. Guests will certainly know which house is yours! Set up a buffet table on the patio near the grill and make a sign labeled “Pit Stop.” Lay out some black and white table cloths and scatter some Hot Wheels cars and you’re good to go! If you have one handy, you can set up a toy racetrack around the food for a special touch.

Tie white and black balloons wherever you can and be sure to snag some snazzy checkered flags to hang up. All of this décor can be found at a local party or craft store. To create party conversation and rivalry among guests, decorate with streamers of the colors of your favorite driver!

Liven up the party atmosphere with some friendly competition! When guests arrive, ask them to answer these questions:

•    What lap will the first lead change take place?
•    When will the first caution flag come out?
•    Who will be in the lead at the halfway point?
•    Who will win the race?

When the race is over, tally up the winners and provide them with prizes! You can have prizes that include gas gift cards, car wash tickets, roadmaps, car air fresheners … you get the point. The prize possibilities are endless! You can also put all of the names of the drivers in a hat and have guests draw a few at the beginning of the race. Whoever has the winner earns the prize!

The Indy 500 only comes once a year, so what are you waiting for?