MONTICELLO, Ind. (WLFI) — The Madam Carroll in Monticello set sail to celebrate the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday afternoon.
Hundreds of people hopped on board to take a two-hour ride across Lake Freeman while watching the race.
Both the race and the boat have one major similarity. They're both a staple in the state of Indiana. That’s why Madam Carroll owner Chris Peter’s found hosting an Indy 500 watch party fitting.
“You're hanging out on the biggest boat in the state, the Madam Carroll is 136 feet long, she weighs 300 tons, which is the same as a jumbo jet. We have a capacity of 500 people and she cruises on Lake Freeman,” said Peters.
As we've reported, Peters and his co-owner Chris Lehe recently bought the boat from the Luse family. The Luses' built the Madam Carroll in the late '70s and would regularly host parties and other community events on it.
As its new owner, Peters’ plans to keep that tradition.
“We're not going to fix what's not broken,” said Peters “The idea that this boat goes out on Saturday nights and throws awesome parties has been for about 50-year status quo so we're going to keep doing that.”
The Indy 500 watch party is just one of a series of events they plan to host this year.
“We did the Kentucky Derby, we've got the Indianapolis 500 going on we've got a few other things coming up,” said Peters. “We'll have a Halloween party, New Year's Eve party, so all kinds of new theme-ing.”
Many viewers within the radius of the Indy 500's black-out area took a trip on the boat. They say seeing the race there was a great alternative and for some, it was even nostalgic.
“You can’t see it on TV until later tonight so if you wanna see it live you have to move away from Indianapolis,” said Lafayette resident Steve Bruhn. “I wanted to help the Madam Carroll plus I wanted to see the race during the day.”
“We've gone to the race for years, but we turned out tickets over to our son and his wife so he found out that this was on the boat so he got us tickets to come on here,” said Carroll County resident Linda Billings.
“I think it's great, I think it'll bring a lot of what the Madam Carroll was back,” said Frankfort resident Drew Snyder.
Peters said Monticello is growing and he’s excited to be a part of it.
“There’s a lot of talent coming into this area, a lot of younger energy so we’re really excited for a natural resource like the lake, and to kind of tell the state about it and bring people here to have a great summer,” said Peters.
He hopes Madam Carroll helps put Monticello on the map.
“We're just creating new opportunities for entertainment and we hope that the community sees that as a resource to come out and try something different,” said Peters.
The boat hosted two riding sessions, one from noon to 2 p.m. and another from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
You can find information for Madam Carroll events here.