Inspirational Teen Emma Stumpf Named Grand Marshal of the 60th IPL 500 Festival Parade

Inspirational Teen Emma Stumpf Named Grand Marshal of the 60th IPL 500 Festival Parade

Wed, 2016-05-18

Philanthropist and Founder of Emma’s Art Cart to be honored for her significant impact with hospitalized children


INDIANAPOLIS (May 18, 2016) – The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events for Indiana and celebrating the legacy of the Indianapolis 500, today announced that Emma Stumpf has been named Grand Marshal of the 2016 IPL 500 Festival Parade. The 60th IPL 500 Festival Parade will take place on Saturday, May 28. Tying into the theme for this year’s parade, Experience the Celebration, honoring Miss Stumpf will give Hoosiers the opportunity to celebrate her spirit and vast accomplishments. Emma, who is 14 years-old, is the youngest Grand Marshal in the Parade’s 60 year history.  

At just 14 years-old, Emma has made a profound impact within the community through her inspirational spirit and unwavering resolve. At age 7, Emma was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and underwent 70 weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of proton radiation to stabilize the tumor. After completing extensive treatment, Emma was determined to find a way to make lengthy hospital stays easier for other children. She founded her program, Emma’s Art Cart, to provide art kits to children that are hospitalized and often confined to their bed. In just over two years, Emma’s Art Carts have provided more than 1,500 customized art kits, providing therapy and stimulation for young children battling big problems.


During a recent hospitalization, Emma’s only request was to meet a princess. Upon learning of this request, several of the 2016 500 Festival Princesses paid a visit to Emma’s hospital room. In addition, the 500 Festival named Emma Stumpf an honorary 500 Festival Princess.


To honor this extraordinary young woman, Stumpf has been named Grand Marshal of the 60th IPL 500 Festival Parade – the youngest Grand Marshal in the history of the Parade. Past Grand Marshals have included Bob Hope, President Gerald R. Ford, Olivia Newton-John, the 1955-56 Crispus Attucks state champion basketball team, Reggie Miller and Peyton Manning. 


“Emma Stumpf is an extraordinary person and we are proud to have her serve as our IPL 500 Festival Parade Grand Marshal during this epic year filled with many milestones,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “Emma’s strength and resolve, coupled with her generous spirit and desire to put others before herself, make her an inspiration. Serving as Grand Marshal of one of Indy’s most cherished community events will give us all an opportunity to celebrate her accomplishments and encourage her in her ongoing battle with cancer.”

One of the original 500 Festival events, the IPL 500 Festival Parade is one of the nation’s largest, most respected parades, consistently earning national acclaim alongside the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. More than 300,000 people will line the streets of downtown Indianapolis to experience the larger-than-life floats, giant helium balloons, celebrities, all 33 drivers competing in the 100th running of the Indy 500, specialty units, and award-winning bands from across the country.

Not only does 2016 mark the 60th running of the IPL 500 Festival Parade, it’s a once-in-a-generation year for Hoosiers, filled with celebrations including 40th OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil,  as well as the State of Indiana’s Bicentennial. To honor these celebrations, the theme for the 2016 IPL 500 Festival Parade is Experience the Celebration, a call-to-action, reminding Hoosiers that the celebration surrounding these iconic events is not to be missed!  


The 2016 IPL 500 Festival Parade will take place on Saturday, May 28, with Parade festivities starting at 11:45 am. It will be nationally televised on NBC Sports Network and locally on WTHR. For more information about the IPL 500 Festival Parade, please visit or search #500Parade on social media.

 EDITOR’S NOTE: To download a photo of Emma Stumpf, please click here

About the 500 Festival

Founded in 1957, the 500 Festival is a not-for-profit organization that produces more than 50 life-enriching events and programs while celebrating the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and fostering 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, follow us on Twitter @500festival, or on Facebook.




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