When the weather warms up each May the fun and festival season kicks into high gear throughout Indiana. From the speed of the Indy 500 race to the Indianapolis Theater Fringe Festival, there is plenty of culture, sports, art, and music on offer. Most of the big events take place in Indianapolis, but many other smaller cities have their own summer festivals and harvest events.
Every year since 1909 the day before Memorial Day in May has been the big race at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Indy 500 has the world’s biggest purse and is one of the most popular motor races on the planet. The stands at the speedway hold 450,000 spectators, and it’s estimated 1.5 million more watch on television. Loads of other events are held around race day leading up to the big competition.
Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival
Dedicated to legendary bluegrass musician Bill Monroe, this music festival is the oldest annual event of its kind in the world. Held at the Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park and Campground, Bean Blossom always has an awesome line-up of bands from around the country. This massive event runs for eight days each June and showcases 50 bands. It’s a pilgrimage for true bluegrass fans!
A major event in Indiana, for 10 days around the end of August downtown Indianapolis gets all theatrical. Performances range from dance and music to interpretations and more. Of course, theater is at the heart of this festival, and the Massachusetts Avenue Theater District revs up with around 36 theater groups. The line-up includes both local troupes and bands of serious thespians from around the world.
Indy Jazz Fest
Jazz fans from around the Midwest make the trek to Indianapolis every September to savor a full plate of amazing jazz performances. For seven days, the city’s theaters and bars become host to a great range of musicians, including funk, soul, and blues. OptiPark is the venue for the last three days of outdoor concerts, while the first four days hold the shows indoors at places like the Jazz Kitchen downtown.
Covered Bridge Festival
Named after Parke County which is famous for its 32 historic covered bridges, the most found anywhere in the country, the festival appreciates small town living. This all-American festival represents the rural side of Indiana in style. Each October, the small town of Rockville hosts thousands of folks interested in the arts and crafts of rural Indiana. Flea markets and antiques stalls create a fun buying scene to go with the live music and great local food.
Indy International Festival
This beloved annual event at the Indiana Fair Grounds is a classic all-American state fair. Each November a fantastic menu of live music, tasty food, carnival rides, and other entertainment are enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. It’s not all small town though, as the event has an international edge so visitors can sample crafts, food, music, and entertainment from around the globe, as well as from right from their own backyard.