Application Process Opens for the 2018 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by Reis-Nichols

Application Process Opens for the 2018 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by Reis-Nichols

500 Festival Princess Program Empowers Students to Make an Impact in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (September 13, 2017) – The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500®, today announced it is accepting applications for the 2018 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by Reis-Nichols Jewelers. Since 1959, the 500 Festival Princess Program has celebrated Indiana’s up-and-coming, college-aged leaders. The online application is available HERE and the deadline for online applications is Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018.

Each year, 33 of Indiana’s most civic-minded, academically driven young women are selected to serve as a 500 Festival Princess. Serving as a 500 Festival Princess provides young women with once-in-a-lifetime experiences and countless opportunities for leadership and professional development. As Princesses, these individuals will grow as leaders, push their comfort zone and impact the community. Since the program’s founding in 1959, nearly 2,000 Indiana women have experienced the honor of being selected as a 500 Festival Princess.

500 Festival Princesses will participate in the 500 Festival Leadership Development Program, presented by BKD, which empowers participants to make a profound impact within their community and the state of Indiana. Key components of the program include:

  • Discussions and learning opportunities, led by business and community leaders, on topics including: goal setting, office etiquette, personal branding, budgeting, professionalism, time management, leadership, and community engagement
  • Professional development events with 500 Festival Princess alumnae, members of the 500 Festival board of directors, community and business leaders

Each 500 Festival Princess will receive a $1,000 scholarship, made possible in part by the 500 Festival Foundation and Marlyne Sexton, an Indianapolis philanthropist and president of The Sexton Companies. 500 Festival Princesses are also provided with once-in-a-life-time experiences, including involvement with the 500 Festival’s statewide community outreach programs, volunteering at 500 Festival events and participating in various Indianapolis Motor Speedway functions, including the pre-race ceremonies and Victory Circle celebration for the Indianapolis 500.

“The 500 Festival – whether it be viewed from my childhood or now, 21 years later – has always been a grand affair,” said 2017 500 Festival Queen, Shivani Bajpai. “The appeal and impact of the 500 Festival touches every generation, which is a rare quality in many events nowadays. These observations personify values such as collaboration, commitment, and community on a large scale. To be a 500 Festival Princess would not only mean being a part of the same values that I cherish in my personal life, but also using that platform and positivity towards the betterment for the city that we celebrate. I am drawn to the aspect of community service that enhances the grandeur of the 500 Festival in a way that is truly inspirational. In fact, previous 500 Festival Princesses were the ones who encouraged me to apply for this program as a means of contributing my skill set at a higher, more impactful level.”

The online application deadline for the 2018 500 Festival Princess Program is Jan. 7, 2018. 264 applicants will meet an independent panel of interviewers on Saturday, Jan. 20. 66 applicants will be invited to participate in a second round of interviews on Saturday, Feb. 3. After the second round of interviews, 33 applicants will be selected to serve as 500 Festival Princesses.

500 Festival Princess selection is based on the following categories: communication skills, commitment to service, leadership, scholarship, and professionalism.

To be eligible to serve as a 500 Festival Princess, applicants must:

  • Claim legal residence in Indiana
  • Currently be enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited college or university located in Indiana; taking a minimum of 12 academic hours for undergraduate studies or a minimum of nine academic hours for graduate studies
  • Maintain a cumulative college GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Be actively involved in at least one extra-curricular activity
  • Be the age of 18 by January 1, 2018, but no older than 23 by May 31, 2018

Click here to view the 2018 500 Festival Princess Program Eligibility Requirements.

Click here to view the 2018 500 Festival Princess Program Application.

To learn more about the 500 Festival Princess Program and its rules and regulations, please visit:

Support of the 500 Festival Princess Program is provided by: Reis-Nichols Jewelers, BKD CPAs and Advisors, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Vera Bradley, Nicole Bryan Salon, and the 500 Festival Foundation.

Follow the 500 Festival Princess Program on social media via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or join the conversation using the hashtag #PrincessProgram.

To learn more about 500 Festival’s events and programs, please visit

About the 500 Festival

Founded in 1957, the 500 Festival is a not-for-profit organization that producing life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500® and foster positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana. One of the largest festivals in the nation, each year more than half a million people attend an event or program produced by the 500 Festival. Since its founding, the 500 Festival has contributed more than $400 million in economic value to Indianapolis. To learn more about the 500 Festival, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.