The month of May in Indiana is dominated by news of the Indianapolis 500, and this year Kokomo will be a part of the annual Indiana 500 tour.

The theme for the Indiana 500 tour is “Transportation” and five locations around the state will be highlighted during the event.

The Indiana Tour kicks off on Tuesday with events in Nappanee, Fort Wayne, Lafayette, Richmond and Kokomo.

A year of planning went into the development of the tour, which is being coordinated by the Association of Indiana Convention and Visitor Bureau’s and the communications department at Ball State University.

The 2011 theme is Indiana’s early heritage and will highlight locations in the southern part of the state.

The Kokomo/Howard County Visitors Bureau and the Kokomo Auto Museum invite the public to attend the kickoff for the Indiana 500 Tour at 1:30 p.m. at the Kokomo Event Center.

Sen. Jim Buck will launch the 500 Mile Tour dedicated to Transportation. Antique autos, bicycle club members with their bicycles, motorcyclists, and running club members will attend, refreshments will be served.

The Indiana 500 tour was the idea of State Rep. Wes Culver, R-Goshen, who wanted to provide economic development opportunities for local communities and at the same time highlight state travel locations.

Culver said in a press release that, by working together, the visitors bureaus could accomplish more than as individual entities to inform people of what the state has to offer.

Also this month, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is bringing exhibits to local communities in anticipation of the Indianapolis 500 on May 30.

The tour will feature photographs and giveaways.

“The citizens of Indiana have long supported the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Hometown Tour is criss-crossing the state to thank our fans and build excitement for the 2010 Indianapolis 500,” Jeff Belskus, president of IMS, said. “There are so many great storylines heading into the 2010 race, and the 100th anniversary of the 500 is just around the corner. It’s a great time to be a race fan.”

The tour will be in Kokomo noon to 2 p.m. Friday at Kokomo Auto World, 3813 S. LaFountain St.

The tour will also be in Peru from 4 to 6 p.m. that day at a location to be announced later.

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