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500 Festival accepting applications for 500 Festival Princess Program

Indianapolis 500 princesses during Regions Bank 500 Festival Snakepit Ball at Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. (Photo by Michael Hickey/WireImage)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The 500 Festival is now accepting applications for the 2024 500 Festival Princess Program. Applications are available at and the deadline to apply is January 7, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. 

The 500 Festival Princess Program celebrates Indiana college-age women who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills, community involvement, service to others, and embody the Hoosier spirit. Those selected for the program will serve as ambassadors of their college or university, the 500 Festival, and the Indianapolis 500. The 500 Festival Princesses will also participate in various community service projects and outreach opportunities from February through May.  

Key Program Highlights:  

  • Leadership and Community Involvement: Princesses will represent the 500 Festival and its mission to enrich lives and positively impact the Indianapolis community and state of Indiana. Princesses are selected based on excellent leadership skills and commitment to making a positive impact on their schools or community. 
  • Scholarship Opportunities: Each 500 Festival Princess will receive a $1,000 scholarship made possible by Marlyne Sexton, an Indianapolis philanthropist and president of The Sexton Companies, and the 500 Festival Foundation.  
  • Professional Development: 500 Festival Princesses will gain leadership development skills and unique access to professional development and networking opportunities with Indiana community leaders and business professionals. They will receive one-on-one mentorship from the 500 Festival Board of Directors and experience hands-on opportunities to expand skills in public speaking, professionalism, leadership, community engagement, and more.    
  • A Rich Tradition: Since 1959, the 500 Festival Princess Program has been an integral part of the Indianapolis 500 experience and has demonstrated the 500 Festival’s commitment to empowering young women leaders. Throughout the program’s history, more than 2,000 women have served as 500 Festival Princesses.  

The top 264 applicants will participate in interviews with an independent panel of community leaders on January 20 in Indianapolis. The top 66 applicants will then be invited to participate in a second round of interviews on February 3. After the second round of interviews, 33 applicants will be selected to serve as the 500 Festival Princesses.  

Selection is based on the following categories: communication skills, commitment to service, leadership, scholarship, and professionalism. To learn more about the 500 Festival Princess Program and its eligibility requirements, visit  

Support of the 500 Festival Princess Program is provided by The National Bank of Indianapolis, Marlyne Sexton, Khamis Fine Jewelers, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the 500 Festival Foundation.    

To learn more about the 500 Festival’s events and programs, visit or join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #PrincessProgram.