INDIANAPOLIS (Feb 23, 2017)


, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the legacy of the Indianapolis 500, today announce one college-aged woman from Peru was chosen as the 2017 500 Festival Princesses. Kayla Meeks, a junior at Indiana University Kokomo, will serve as a 2017 Princess.

The 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by Reis-Nichols, has a long history of celebrating Indiana’s most civic-minded, academically driven college-aged women. Serving as a 500 Festival Princess provides young women with countless opportunities for leadership, networking and professional development. The 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 Indiana.

The 500 Festival Princess Program provides each princess a $1,000 scholarship, which was made possible by Marlyne Sexton, an Indiana philanthropist and president of The Sexton Companies, in conjunction with individual donors and the 500 Festival Foundation.

“The 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by Reis-Nichols, gives women the opportunity to enhance their leadership and personal skills. With more than 50 years of history, the program provides each young woman an extraordinary experience,” said Kathy Cabello, 500 Festival board member and Princess Program committee co-chair. “The 500 Festival is proud to guide Indiana’s next generation of leaders.”

The 2017 Festival Princesses represents 13 universities and 22 cities and towns across the state. Averaging a cumulative GPA of 3.7, the princesses were selected among hundreds of other applicants based on communication skills, leadership, scholarship, commitment to service and professionalism.

Among the 33 2017 Festival Princesses, one princess will be selected as The 500 Festival Queen and will receive an additional $1,500 scholarship. The Queen will be crowned May 20 during the morning of the 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by Midwestern Engineers, Inc.

As representatives of the 500 Festival, Princesses play a crucial role in the execution of the 500 Festival’s mission to produce 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. Appearances by the 500 Festival Princesses are available by 

Support of the 500 Festival Princess Program is provided by: Reis-Nichols, BKD, RaeLynn’s Boutique,  Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Vera Bradley, The Sanctuary on Penn and the 500 Festival Foundation.

To learn more about the 500 Festival’s Princess Program and the 2017 Princesses, please visit .

EDITOR’S NOTE: Individual and group photos can be viewed online 

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 , or on .

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