No matter what age, going back to school is always exciting. Whether you’re stuffing a backpack for your elementary student, or stuffing a truck for your college student, starting a new season of life is a chance for them to learn, try new things, and reinvent themselves. For some, it’s shapes and colors. For others, it’s seminars and late nights.

Regardless of age, the 500 Festival has something to make sure their school year stays as exciting as it is right now. From elementary running events and kids fitness programs to college experiences and unforgettable memories, here are five 500 Festival back-to-school items to make a priority this school year:

1. 500 Festival mini-mini

The 500 Festival mini-mini takes place September 17 and is available to kids ages 5-12. The event gives kids an experience just like the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon at distances sized just for them! You can register your little runners for just $15 when you sign them up before September 12.


2. Education Program

The 500 Festival & Indianapolis 500 Education Program, presented by Indiana University Health, immerses Indiana’s 4th grade students in the rich history of the Indianapolis 500, the 500 Festival, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Education Program is completely free and available for all Indiana 4th grade classrooms. It takes place in the spring and gives teachers fun lessons and activities based on Indiana Academic Standards. You can even take a field trip to IMS!


3. KidsFit Program

In an effort to fight childhood obesity, the 500 Festival KidsFit Program encourages Indiana youth to be more active and pursue a healthy lifestyle. The KidsFit Program is a completely free curriculum for K-6th grade students and acts a training guide for students to gain valuable health and physical education knowledge at the elementary level.


4. princess program

Each year, 33 college-aged women are selected as 500 Festival Princesses and serve as ambassadors of the 500 Festival, their hometowns, and their colleges and universities. The 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by Reis-Nichols Jewelers, celebrates Indiana’s most civic-minded and academically driven young women. Serving as a 500 Festival Princess provides young women with once-in-a-life-time experiences and countless opportunities for leadership and professional development as they get to walk side-by-side with the 500 Festival through the magical month of May. Applications open September 13!


5. Intern program

The 500 Festival Intern Program welcomes interns each spring and is designed to allow each intern to experience the month of May in Indianapolis in a new and exciting way. This program is only open to college students seeking academic credit. From event management to graphic design, the internship program provides numerous areas of focus, all with an amazing experience helping to create the celebration of May. Internship applications will open in early September.


If you have any questions about any of the elementary and grade school programs, please contact Lauren Coyle at

If you have any questions about any of the college programs, please contact Kati O’Brien at