Applications Open for 2023 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by The National Bank of Indianapolis 

Applications Open for 2023 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by The National Bank of Indianapolis 

Leadership, Service Opportunity for Indiana College-Aged Women 


The 500 Festival is accepting applications for the 2023 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by The National Bank of Indianapolis. Applications are available at and the deadline to apply is Sunday, January 8, 2023, at 11:59 pm EST. 


Since 1959, the 500 Festival Princess Program has celebrated Indiana’s top female college students. The program provides women from Indiana colleges and universities with the unique opportunity to make a profound impact during their college years as ambassadors of the 500 Festival and its mission to enrich lives and positively impact the community. Each year, the 500 Festival selects 33 civic-minded, academically driven young women to serve as 500 Festival Princesses. Each 500 Festival Princess will also receive a $1,000 scholarship made possible by Marlyne Sexton, an Indianapolis philanthropist and president of The Sexton Companies, and the 500 Festival Foundation. Throughout the program’s history, more than 2,000 Indiana women have served as 500 Festival Princesses.  


The Princess Program also puts a unique focus on leadership development and professional growth through the 500 Festival Leadership Development Program, presented by FORVIS. Women in the program receive one-on-one mentorship from the 500 Festival Board of Directors and experience more than 10 sessions and 20 hours of learning, led by business and community leaders, on topics including goal setting, professionalism, leadership, community engagement, and more.    


The top 264 applicants will participate in interviews with an independent panel of community leaders on Saturday, January 21, in Indianapolis. The top 66 applicants will then be invited to participate in a second round of interviews on Saturday, February 4. 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 be eligible to serve as a 2023 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 extracurricular activity  
  • Be the age of 18 by January 1, 2023, but no older than 23 by May 31, 2023.   


Click here to view the 2023 500 Festival Princess Program Application   


“The best part of participating in the 500 Festival Princess Program is meeting amazing individuals passionate about racing, history, engineering, and the legacy of the 500 Festival,” said Melissa Aceves, the Marlyne Sexton 500 Festival Queen Scholar. “Through outreaches, I visited organizations to share the legacy of the 500 Festival while also carrying on the legacy my dad left behind before his passing. Like many other Hoosiers, he had a love for cars, festivities, and community; making it so heartwarming to connect with others. The time I’ve had as a Queen and Princess has genuinely been a once-in-a-lifetime experience! I encourage other women to apply to the 500 Festival Princess Program because it is an opportunity to use an amazing platform to make a difference in the state of Indiana. It is a once-of-a-lifetime experience that you will remember forever.” 



To learn more about the 500 Festival Princess Program and its eligibility requirements, please visit 


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


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


To learn more about the 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 produces life-enriching events and programs celebrating the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and fostering a positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana. As 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 $500 million in economic value to Indianapolis. To learn more about the 500 Festival, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.