Food, fun and fashion with checkered panache was back on track in Speedway Saturday.
Rev, the annual foodie-focused and racing-themed happening, notched its ninth year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the party and presentations resembling pre-pandemic times and the fundraiser reaching new heights in terms of participation and revenue.
Attendees got to taste signature dishes from more than 70 Indianapolis area chefs and restaurants, including pork belly from Vida’s Thomas Melvin; lobster rolls and oyster shooters from newcomer Raw Bar by Slapfish; and shrimp and grits with sausage gravy from this year’s celebrity chef duo Kathy Jones and Sam Brown, of Second Helpings and Wheeler Mission, respectively.
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Of course, one of the draws of the event is the ability to mingle with drivers such as Conor Daly and James Hinchcliffe.
But this year’s honorary Rev chair Will Power, the 2018 Indy 500 champ, went beyond the photo op and was part of the evening’s entertainment lineup, playing drums with the Ed Lanier band. It was among dozens of live musical performances, including several DJs spinning genres from country to house.
There was shopping onsite as well, with jewelry and watches from Reis Nichols Jewelers and fragrances from Ambre Blends, among vendor offerings, and live art installations with the final products available for purchase.
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New this year was an opportunity to engage in a virtual reality experience in which players enter a garage where they are challenged to repair an A.J. Foyt car just ahead of race. The actual car was also on display.
The experience wasn’t just about games, though.
The technology, less gamified than what guests saw Saturday, is being used with IU Health oncology patients to virtually transport them to beaches, mountains and other serene surroundings during treatments. Rev is helping to fund its expansion to trauma patients.
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“Our plan is to develop an entire program and grow it in 2023,” said Carol Howard, Rev’s executive director. “Trauma patients go through incredible events and it can relieve a patient’s anxiety and aid their healing. It gets their mind off of their pain so they don’t medicate it as much.”
Bigger and better
Saturday marked the May return for the full-scale Rev event for the first time since 2019. The function was canceled in 2020 and Rev 2021 was moved to late July.
The fundraiser supports IU Health trauma services statewide, including the IU Health Emergency Medical Center at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Rev has raised more than $5 million in the past eight years.
Rev also appeared to be back to normal with most food presentations being plated or, in the case of Vanilla Bean Bakery, allowing guests to serve themselves from a table full of goodies, including cake truffles and chocolate-dipped Oreos.
In 2021, most of the food was served in individual packaging as part of COVID-19 precautions.
This year the more than 3,000 revelers, who paid $300-$600 to attend, saw plenty of individual-sponsored tents — one with charcuterie served in cones — and specialty bars and lounges (candy-flavored slushies were available) across the property.
Masks were available and sanitizing stations were abundant across the premises.
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Rev 2022 boasted the biggest lineup of restaurants and chefs participating, and it’s set to bring in the most money ever.
Rev raised $1 million last year, the first time it reached that milestone. Organizers said they have surpassed that this year.