What does it mean to be a 500 Festival Princess? Each year, 33 of Indiana’s most civic-minded, academically driven college-aged women are selected to be a part of the 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by The National Bank of Indianapolis. As a 500 Festival Princess, you can experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for scholarship, leadership, professional development, philanthropic outreach, friendship, and unforgettable memories! Take it from previous 500 Festival Princesses themselves and what being a 500 Festival Princess means to them:

 

Service

“While the crown and sash might say otherwise, the job of being a 500 Festival Princess is not that of royalty, but of servitude. All 33 of us princesses are servants of Indiana. The Indianapolis 500 only lasts half a day, but the service we do will continue on long after this leadership role we possess.” -2019 500 Festival Princess

“As a 500 Festival Princess, I was able to organize outreaches and impact my community directly through service and volunteerism. I truly cannot imagine my life being where it is today without the opportunities, guidance, and friendships the position has given me.” – 2019 500 Festival Princess

“I loved all of the opportunities I was given through the 500 Festival Princess Program. I learned how to give back to various communities in multiple ways, attended community outreaches that taught me so many things, attend Education Program Study Trips and encouraged kids to work hard in school, served as a role model to so many young girls, attended the 500 Festival events. This program allows for growth in ways that I never thought were possible.” – 2017 500 Festival Princess

 

Leadership

“One of the most gratifying experiences of being a Princess was seeing other women leaders like 500 Festival Board Director, Allison Melangton, Senior Vice President of Events at Hulman Motorsports, be bold in their careers and let their work and results speak for themselves.” -2017 500 Festival Princess

“I am most looking forward to all the opportunities I am offered to make an impact on the Hoosier community, create connections with Indianapolis leaders, and share my love for service with 32 other amazing, like-minded women.” -2020 500 Festival Princess

 

Scholarship

“Because of Marlyne  Sexton’s kindness and complete support for everything the Princess Program embodies, I now have the funding I need to start pursuing a Master’s degree program in the fall, and continue my education. After hearing how Marlyne turned success brought on by her own dedication and phenomenal leadership skills into support to build up young leaders like myself and the other Princesses I am blessed to currently be on a team with, I am confident when I say she is one of the most incredible mentors I will ever encounter.” – 2021 500 Festival Princess 

 

Personal & Professional Development

“Between countless mentorships and opportunities for outreach, the Princess Program is likely the most accelerated course in personal development in any state in the country. Working so closely with Laura Bliss has taught me how well kindness and efficiency pair together. Laura is always there to offer help or guidance at times before I have even realized I needed it.” – 2021 500 Festival Princess 

 

Mentorship

“The most surprising part of the Princess Program for me was the impact that my director made. Before being paired with Mike Strohl, I didn’t really understand the benefit of being paired with a board member. However, Mike and his wife Val made the program extra special for me. From setting up professional opportunities to inviting me over just to bake cookies, they made me feel loved and supported throughout the month of May and beyond. The Princess Program continually surprised me with opportunities that changed my life.” -2017 500 Festival Princess

 

Friendship

“Another wonderful aspect of this program is the friendships that bloom. 33 strangers sat in a room not knowing the name of the woman next to them at orientation. Now, I can confidently name off every princess’ first and last name and where they go to school. The only thing better than serving your community is serving it with amazing women alongside you.” – 2019 500 Festival Princess

“My favorite memories about being in the Princess Program are all shared with the other 32 amazing women I was constantly surrounded by. These women are phenomenal in all aspects of their lives. They encouraged me to continue to work hard and were great support systems. The amount of memories I made with these women are endless and I am forever grateful I was able to make 32 new friends” – 2017 500 Festival Princess

 

 

Unforgettable Memories!

“Having the opportunity to represent my hometown as a 500 Festival Princess has not only been a true blessing, I truly cannot imagine my life being where it is today without the opportunities, guidance, and friendships the position has given me.” -2020 500 Festival Princess

“If any young woman is even slightly considering applying to be a princess, I say take the leap and go for it! I would not trade the month of May and the events leading up to it for anything.” -2019 500 Festival Princess

“Not only did the program allow me to see the Indianapolis 500 in a whole new light, it provided me with an experience and friendships that will last a lifetime.” -2017 500 Festival Princess