500 Festival, KeyBank Forgo In-Person Black Tie Event, Off the Grid, to Donate VIP Gift Boxes to Central Indiana’s Front Line Health Care Heroes

INDIANAPOLIS (July 9, 2020) – Since 1957, the 500 Festival has hosted a legendary race weekend party, attended by the who’s who of Indianapolis and celebrities and VIPs in town for the Indy 500. The event, 500 Festival Off the Grid, presented by KeyBank, is a night of reverie and entertainment, a chance to celebrate and toast a successful month of May and upcoming Indy 500 race. For the first time in the event’s history, in lieu of hosting an in person black-tie event, funds that would have gone towards this event will now be used to create and deliver an Off the Grid Gift Box for central Indiana health care workers so they can enjoy a VIP experience at their home. The 500 Festival Off the Grid VIP Gift Boxes, presented by KeyBank, will feature a variety of food and gift items from Hoosier businesses. The VIP Gift Boxes will show health care workers the thanks of the community while supporting a variety of local Hoosier businesses.  

Celebrations and community gatherings of all sizes look quite a bit different in 2020, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 500 Festival and KeyBank, the title partner for Off the Grid, have teamed up to reimagine this year’s Off the Grid experience and make our health care workers feel like VIPs. The Off the Grid VIP Gift Boxes will be provided to front line workers at Indiana’s four largest health care systems. This collaborative effort amongst the 500 Festival, KeyBank and Off the Grid vendors, is an opportunity to come together to foster a positive impact, and celebrate the Central Indiana health care professionals serving on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19.

KeyBank has pledged their sponsorship funds that would traditionally be allocated towards the in-person Off the Grid event to underwrite the bulk of expenses for hundreds of gift boxes, ensuring that local vendors will also receive critical revenue during this tenuous time.

The Indiana Roof Ballroom, which has been the host venue for the red carpet event since its inception in 1957, and their Crystal Catering team will develop the VIP Gift Boxes, which will include a variety of upscale food and beverage items. They will also oversee the assembly process as well as the delivery of gift boxes to hospitals, ensuring hospitality food safety best practices are closely followed.

The 500 Festival is working closely with representatives from Indiana’s four largest health care systems to deliver the gift boxes to their recommended locations and departments. In addition, the Festival is overseeing the planning process to ensure the delivery of the gift boxes will have the unmistakable excitement and fanfare of our traditional Race Weekend VIP event.

“Our hope is that the frontline healthcare heroes who receive the gift boxes will take a moment to relax and celebrate the positive impact they are having on the community and encourage them to revel in the magical moments around them that they are helping to create for families across the state,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO, 500 Festival. “Since 1957, Indianapolis residents and out-of-town guests have flocked to the Indiana Roof Ballroom on Race Eve for a night of entertainment and excitement, hosted by the 500 Festival. We’re proud to continue the tradition in a slightly different way through the 500 Festival Off the Grid, presented by KeyBank VIP Gift Boxes for our health care heroes. We appreciate KeyBank’s commitment and leadership in driving this initiative as well as the support of the 500 Festival Board of Directors.”

The Off the Grid VIP Gift Box concept will highlight the impact of these gift boxes and share the rich stories of the health care heroes we are thanking, showing that hospitality isn’t just an industry here in Indiana, it’s our way of life, and fostering a positive impact isn’t just the 500 Festival’s mission, it’s an opportunity all Hoosiers  look for all 12 months of the year. 

“KeyBank is focused on helping our communities where we can during this challenging time. We’re proud to partner with the 500 Festival to lead this initiative where we can celebrate our frontline health care heroes while also supporting a number of local businesses,” said Juan Gonzalez, president of KeyBank, Central Indiana. “This year’s Off the Grid experience will be quite a bit different from previous years, but we’re confident that it will be the most impactful yet.”

Off the Grid guests who had already purchased tickets for the 2020 event will be contacted directly by the 500 Festival regarding their options. To learn more about the 500 Festival Off the Grid, presented by KeyBank, and the Off the Grid VIP gift box initiative, please visit 500Festival.com/OffTheGrid.

Off the Grid is supported by KeyBank, Markey’s Rental & Staging, Daniel’s Vineyard, Hotel Tango, and broadcast partner, WISH-TV. Co-chairs of the Off the Grid committee are Juan Gonzalez and Melissa Proffitt, serving with committee members Phyllis Ferrell, Jeff Holley, Patrick McGill, Dennis Murphy, Kevin Pastoor, Rob Pruitt, Joe Santucci, and Leah Stark.                                           

About the 500 Festival

Founded in 1957, the 500 Festival is a not-for-profit organization that produces more than 50 life-enriching events and programs while celebrating the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and fostering positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana. One of the largest festivals in the nation, each year more than half a million people attend an event or program produced by the 500 Festival. Since its founding, the 500 Festival has contributed more than $400 million in economic value to Indianapolis. To learn more about the 500 Festival, please visit www.500festival.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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