I have a confession to make

So I have to confess something. I’ve tried to “hide” it but Pat seems to be telling the whole world about it recently. So it’s time to come clean I guess.

Yes, I was a 500 Festival Princess back in 2002, just before we got married. Yes, I had a tiara and sash and waved in the parade and at the track (however, not the beauty pageant wave). And no, it wasn’t a beauty pageant…trust me I would never sign up for that! I’m going to sound so cliché, but here it goes. Around 300 college women each year apply to be a 500 Princess. You go through interviews and they look at your GPA, community service, leadership, etc. Then they select 33 princesses (to go with the 33 race cars drivers in the Indy 500). The princesses represent the 500 Festival and the Indy 500 leading up to the month of May and of course during May too. It involves community service, speaking and of course lots of fun at the track and other 500 events! The program has been around since 1959. A long time ago it was more of a beauty pageant but not today.

It truly was such a great experience for me. I found out about it when my friend Allison had been a princess the year before. She encouraged me to apply for it and I was hesitant, but I’m glad I did!

I was able to do a ton of things such as visit Riley Hospital (Children’s Hospital) and help my mom with the kids there as well as visit another time with some of the drivers and see the kids’ faces light up. I got asked more than once if I lived in a castle and if I had a prince. From girl scouts to after school programs, volunteering with kids was the best part of it.

Then of course we got to be in the pace car on Pole Day and Race Day and drive around the track. Race Day was very cool, there are not a lot of people who can say they’ve actually set foot on the track the day of the race, but I’m proud to say I have! And, I made some great friends. Several of them I still keep in contact with today and it’s so cool to see what these brilliant women are doing now.

Ever since being a princess I have volunteered with the 500 Festival. I help out with the princess program and have a blast seeing the women enjoy all the same things I did and much more! Last weekend they had their brunch and we decided to try to start up an alumni program. There are only 1,500 women through the years that have been 500 Festival Princesses. So it was neat to meet some of these women, even one from the first year, 1959! The picture above is from the brunch.

So why am I so embarrassed when Pat likes to brag about me being a past princess? I guess it’s because I know what people think when they hear that. They think beauty pageant and all that goes into that. And I don’t want people to think that’s me at all. I guess I should be proud about it, and I am, I just need to get more comfortable with it! Still a little embarassed though!