Indy 500 Snake Pit: A Rookie’s Guide

If this is your first IMS infield rodeo, heed these words.

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There’s an art to all the partying in the Snake Pit during the Indianapolis 500. I caught up with nine veteran Snake Pitters to mine them for tips that all first-timers should heed before plunging into this weekend’s infield.

1. Rest up. “I went two summers ago when Krewella was there,” says Alexa Moran. “My advice is to take it easy the night before, and pack sunscreen and water—lots of water.”

2. Dress appropriately. “Wear something that isn’t see-through when wet, unless you’re into public indecency,” says Jordan Cunningham. “And wear clothes that flatter your body type, for everyone’s sake. My first time at the Snake Pit, four years ago, I was like a nun in a whorehouse. I saw countless boobs, butt cracks, and ass cheeks.”

3. Stash some moist towelettes in your purse, satchel, fannypack (how ironic!), or beer bong, as you’ll be sweaty and using portable waterclosets a lot. Nathan Clark, a three-time Snake Pitter, says he never heads to the track without his Wet Wipes.

4. Don’t get pushy with rambunctious Snake Pitters, and know the shortcuts. “If you get shoved, don’t shove back,” says Hannah Hall, who first braved the Snake Pit as a high-school senior. “Also, jumping the fence in front of the Port-o-Potties is easier than walking around.”

5. Regarding the previous testimonial: “Don’t climb the fence, because you will get arrested,” says Nolan Anderson. “And sunscreen—farmers’ tans galore!” Says the two-time Snake Pit participant, “That was enough for me.”

6. Use the buddy system. “Stick close to your friends,” says Courtnie Pruessner, a three-year event pro. “It’s easy to lose them once you enter the Pit.”

7. Bring plenty of beer, and show up early, as in when the gates open, says Casey Icenogle: “Last year was actually my first time!”

8. The VIP section is worth checking out. “It’s really fun, has a bar and chairs, and isn’t that much more expensive,” says Kris Killingback, who will head to the Pit for a fourth consecutive year on Sunday. “There’s not really anywhere to sit, or any shade, if you aren’t in the VIP section. The Snake Pit is literally a stage in the middle of the track.”

9. Make friends, and don’t “sweat” lost shoes. “Be open to meeting new people,” Maureen Stout says, 15 years a Pit enthusiast. “We are Hoosiers with hospitality. And if you lose a flip-flop, don’t stress. You will probably find one as you’re leaving.”

10. Most important—enjoy the experience. “Hydrate and prioritize! If you really love the DJ and the music, put that experience first,” says Alex Paredes. “If you’re in it for the party, pack up your favorite drinks and some drunk snacks. It’s a killer time.”

More: Three big-name DJs—Hardwell, Nervo, and Dillon Francis—will Pit out with all comers. And you can go “glamping” in the infield overnight.

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