A Very Special Indianapolis 500 Christmas

Light tunnel!

Drivers, start your string lights!

We have a few neighbors shaming us with their scintillating Christmas light displays, reminiscent of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation minus the buffoonery and severe injuries. We spent one evening this week getting out of the house for a bit and taking a scenic drive through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the world-famous Indy 500 and host of a holiday attraction brand new for the 2016 holiday season.

Lights at the Brickyard!

The inaugural Lights at the Brickyard is a celebration of the holidays — not just Christmas — through a series of high-watt light displays in various shapes, sizes, characters, and themes. For a price, tripled if you want “speedy pass” access, drivers follow a line of other cars through a designated pathway running around various sections of the IMS grounds, through the middle of the infield, and down the main straightaway including the finish line, a fun treat for anyone with a deep appreciation of Indy 500 and its 100-year history. Our speed limit was an oppressive 5 mph, but sometimes compromises have to be made for the sake of a stable milquetoast society.

Several displays were prettier than we can reproduce here because we’re not professional photographers. But it gave us something to do together, whether we were marveling or nitpicking. Fun for the whole family!

tunnel in!

The entrance through Gate 2 kicks off your light show with a festive underground Christmas tunnel.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway!

Gentle reminder of where you are.

Panasonic Pagoda!

The Pagoda in the center of the track has a few themed decorations of its own, but first you have to get through this radioactive reindeer.

red tunnel!

Drivers were instructed to turn off their headlights, but nothing could be done about those intrusive taillights diffracting all over everything.

tunnel 3!

You’ll note some of our attempted panoramas are more like pointillism color studies.

Colts helmet!

It’s football season and the Colts are still in Indianapolis, so they’re thrown a bone.


The Abominable Snowman is so proud of his one job.


Candles, or possibly Christmas smokestacks.


A Kwanzaa candelabra defies Christmas’ December monopoly.


Christmas choo-choo brings deliveries from the Island of Mis-Lit Toys.

Christmas moose!

Canadian TV presents “A Goose & Moose Cordial Christmas”.


We argued for several minutes over the true identity of these jolly apparitions. My theory: Christmas Lemonheads.

Seven Swans a-Swimming!

Along the main straightaway were twelve displays in honor of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, including Seven Swans a-Swimming…

Nine Ladies Dancing!

…and Nine Ladies Dancing.

Christmas scoreboard!

The track’s 97-foot-tall LED scoreboard pylon, installed in 2014, was reprogrammed with the spirit of snowfall.

Merry Christmas!

…which describes how you’re feeling all the time, in theory.

Florence Henderson!

The last section to be completed was the In Memoriam for Indiana legend Florence Henderson, a.k.a. Carol Brady, who performed at dozens of Indy 500 opening ceremonies and just passed away November 24th. The festivities won’t be the same without her.

The Lights at the Brickyard was fun to do once, but we’re not sure we’d make this an annual event. If they’ll let me floor the accelerator for a full lap over the 100-mph mark, I guarantee I’ll be back, though that might be a deal-breaker for my wife, who clearly prizes Christmas safety over Christmas spirit.


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