Zinga's blog

Zinga's Blog

How to Throw an Epic Indy 500 Race Day Party

With covid causing several events in 2021 to cut capacity, you may not be able to physically be present at the Indy 500 this year- but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the race by having a race day party with friends.

1. Food

Nothing screams Indianapolis 500 like your favorite tailgate foods.  Pile on the fried chicken, premade sandwiches, and charcuterie.  Supplement with fruit and veggie trays to feel like you’re at an authentic tailgate.  To really spice things up knock out a few lemon shake-ups, grilled corn on the cob and hot dogs to mimic track food for your friends who will be missing the experience alongside you.

2. Drinks

Tailgates for the Indy 500 start early – treat your guests to Bloody Marys and Mimosas when they arrive to kick off the party. Filling coolers with your favorite beer and soda to transition to after morning beverages will give an authentic “sitting outside the gates with your buddies waiting to enter the track” vibe.  Make sure to supplement with water and Gatorade because everyone knows it’s important to stay hydrated for a full day of race watching. 

3. Decorations

There is no better way to decorate for the Indy 500 than checkered flags. Everywhere. Checkered tablecloths, flags, and banners will help set the mood for your guests.  The race always occurs during Memorial Day weekend, so we think setting out red, white, and blue plates, cups, and napkins makes a nice touch.  Throw in a few arrangements with red, white and blue flowers (you may have to go with dark purple, but we promise it will work) to really tie everything together.

4. Games

Whether your friends are seasoned race fans or novices, our favorite game to play to keep all parties watching the race lap after lap is a “Choose the Driver” game.  Make sure to buy a paper the morning of race day and find the page with all the drivers as well as their car numbers and photos.  Cut the page into strips of paper with one driver per strip.  Toss them in a plastic baggie and have each partygoer draw a driver.  You can up the ante by charging $5 per driver.  Award prizes for first place, second place, third place, and first driver eliminated from the race.

5. TV

Obviously, you can’t have a race day party without watching or listening to the race.  Sometimes the race is blacked out on tv which can make this part a bit tricky. In the event that the race is blacked out this year, set up several portable radios so you can listen in to all of the excitement.