500 Festival Princesses: Meet Laken and Katelyn!

Published On April 5, 2011 » 2755 Views» By admin » Blogs

The 2011 500 Festival princesses represent 11 Indiana colleges and universities and 24 cities and towns across the state. The young women were selected from 278 applicants based on communication skills, poise, academic performance, and community and volunteer involvement. The 500 Festival has narrowed the field to 33 princesses who will serve as ambassadors for the 2011 500 Festival.

In this blog series we will introduce you to the 500 Festival Princesses, share what they are doing in Indiana communities and their tips for the month of May. We will also share their dream line-up of 33 drivers from TheGreatest33.com. Want to earn bragging rights by sharing your line-up with friends and family too? Be sure to click the “share” feature after finalizing and submitting your line-up!

With 54 days remaining until the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, we’re pleased to introduce you to Laken and Katelyn.

Name: Laken Kurtz

Laken Kurtz

Hometown: Muncie

School: Ball State University

Number of years you’ve have been to the Indy 500: 3  To the 500 Festival Parade: 1

Your tips for someone attending the Indy 500 for the first time: First, GET EXCITED! This is going to be a day to remember for the rest of your life! I still remember my first trip to the Indy 500 and boy did I have a blast! Second, make sure you wear comfy shoes; the track is big so you’ll be doing lots of walking. Lather up on the sunscreen and bring lots of water because it get’s toasty out there! Third, make sure you visit the museum and different attractions inside the track. There are many great things to see while you are waiting for the race to start! My personal favorite is watching the drivers prepare for the race. Lastly, if you don’t have a favorite driver, make sure you choose some one to cheer for during the race. It’s great to cheer some one on and watch them move up and down the pole. Maybe your driver will get to drink milk at the finish line and have their picture taken with the lovely queen!

Your tips for someone attending the 500 Festival Parade for the first time: Bring kids! Get downtown early; you’re going to want a great seat! Sitting close will give you the best view of all the attractions the parade has to offer! Don’t forget to look up high for all the balloons floating by; the parade isn’t just on the streets. Make sure you bring your camera for all those special photo opportunities. Keep an eye out for the drivers and those gorgeous pace cars! Also keep your camera close by for pictures of myself and the other 500 Festival Princesses. We will be waving at you from our float! Make sure you wear comfy shoes to walk around downtown Indianapolis and wear your sunscreen! No one wants a bad sunburn on race weekend! Last but not least, have a blast! Make sure to enjoy this day to the fullest; it’s an amazing experience!

This is what I am doing in my community as a representative of the Princess Program: As a representative of the 500 Festival Princess Program I am working in the Muncie community to give back to local organizations and schools. I love my community very much and there is no better way to show my appreciation and love then by giving back and volunteering. I have set up outreach opportunities with local soup kitchens, food banks, shelters, after school programs, and Habitat for Humanity. Since I am an education major and attended Muncie Community Schools, I thought it would be great to visit local elementary schools to educate them on the 500 Festival. I am also attending a literacy night to promote literacy in the schools, spring carnivals, tutoring sessions, and after school programs. Not only am I attending outreaches I have set up, I am also volunteering at other princesses’ events. This is a great way to spread the message of the 500 Festival all over the state of Indiana. I am very honored to be able to give back to my local community and represent the 500 Festival Princess Program through different outreaches!

This May, I’m most looking forward to seeing: The Pace Car Reunion

My Greatest 33 Line-up and what’s worth checking out at TheGreatest33.com: Click here to view my dream 33 line up from TheGreatest33.com. I chose my drives based on their experience at the 500 and their number of wins. I also looked for racers I was familiar with like Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart. I made sure to include some classic drivers in my line-up as well. I used the driver comparison tool on the website to make sure my line-up was just right! Make sure you take time to create your own line-up!

2011 500 Festival Princesses

Let us know when you spot one of the 2011 500 Festival Princess Program participants in your community!

Name: Katelyn Kingseed

Hometown: Kokomo, IN

School: Purdue University

Katelyn Kingseed

Number of Years you have been to the Indy 500: 0 To the 500 Festival Parade: 0
I know that is alarming!! Don’t worry- I am very excited to be a first timer!

Your tips for someone attending the Indy 500 for the first time: Considering this is my first time attending the Indy 500 as well, I would say the three most important pieces of advice I’ve heard are to wear sunscreen, drink water, and most importantly have fun! Enjoy this wonderful Indiana tradition, and take it all in. I know that is what I plan on doing!

Your tips for someone attending the 500 Festival Parade for the first time: Once again, because the 500 Festival Parade is something I have never attended before, I am not exactly sure what to expect. I know that this parade is one of the largest in the country, and it is a wonderful way to celebrate the Indy 500. I would suggest taking a lot of pictures, and making sure you stay for the entire event. I can guarantee you are not going to want to miss one moment of the 2011 500 Festival Parade!

This is what I am doing in my community as a representative of the Princess Program: As a representative of the Princess Program, I am working both in my hometown community and community where I attend college to promote the Indianapolis 500 and all of the 500 Festival events that lead up to and celebrate the race. I am reaching out to local elementary school classrooms, after school groups, Purdue student organizations, my local church, and local events supporting and celebrating the Indy 500 race. I am also taking advantage of any opportunity to attend outreaches in other communities hosted by other Princess Program representatives.

My Greatest 33 Line-up and what’s worth checking out at TheGreatest33.com: Click here to view my dream 33 line-up at TheGreatest33.com. At first I was not sure how I was going to select my own greatest 33 of all time because I did not think I knew that many drivers!  After reading through the names, familiarizing myself with their stories, and looking into some of the repeated winners my line-up came into place, and I think that my final list represents the Indianapolis 500’s rich history very well. I have enjoyed looking through TheGreatest33 website as well!  One of my favorite portions of the website is the area where we can “meet the 100 drivers.”  I enjoyed seeing who had won the most races, who had driven the most laps, etc.  I also enjoyed the driver comparison area of the website.  I did not discover this until after making my list.  I can tell you it would have made it a lot easier, and more fun!

This May, I’m most looking forward to seeing: Back Home Again in Indiana Community Decoration Program

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25 comments
Debbie Poppas
Debbie Poppas

Congratulations! I am sure that you will enjoy every moment. See you at the race.

Kristina Summers
Kristina Summers

Such a proud moment! Way to go! Hope you enjoy the journey as that's what life is about. Take it all in! The 500 won't be the same after having you with them!

Marianne/John Poppas
Marianne/John Poppas

We're proud of you, Katelyn. Looking forward to hearing all about it at our family reunion...bring pictures ! Have fun ! Marianne & John

Mike Miller
Mike Miller

Congratulations Katelyn sounds like you are having a great time. This sounds like a lot of fun. We will watch for you! Mike & Ellen

Betty-Tom Poppas
Betty-Tom Poppas

Enjoy this special time in your life. We are proud of you.

Laura Gray
Laura Gray

Katelyn-We're thrilled that you have this opportunity, and can't think of a better person to be selected! You're such a special young woman! Enjoy this experience. :-)

Phoebe & Lee
Phoebe & Lee

We are so proud of you and are anxious to hear about all the fun and work involved. We love you much.

Ann Tupper
Ann Tupper

congratulations, Katelyn. I hope you enjoy every minute of this adventure. You are a marvelous asset to the program!!!!!! Best wishes!

Michele McIsaac
Michele McIsaac

Congratulations, Katelyn! We don't believe the Indy folks could have selected a better represenative for their organization. Enjoy all the frivolity and festiviites! Love, Michele and Bob

Sandy Kleiber
Sandy Kleiber

Our community is so lucky to have such a wonderful and caring young woman to represent us as a princess. (So glad we're family.) Enjoy all of those 1st time activities you'll be taking part in. Have a great time. Congrats to you.

Angie Poppas Schenck
Angie Poppas Schenck

This is one of those "awesome" moments in your life that you will never forget! God's Blessing to a beautiful lady!

DebbieTaylor
DebbieTaylor

I enjoyed reading your blog. Enjoy this special time in your life. We're all proud of you!

Rhonda Gruenewald
Rhonda Gruenewald

Congrats Katelyn! How exciting! I am your Aunt Libby's BFF and am thrilled they have chosen a beautiful Boilermaker to represent the Princess program. Have a blast! Rhonda Gruenewald

Chuck West
Chuck West

Katelyn, As a hard core race fan, who has been in the business for a long time, I can't tell you what fun and enjoyment you'll have! More importantly, the Honor you have earned thru hard work and reaching out to your local community and Church Groups is an outstanding endeavor! I am proud you are Family and equally proud you are a Leader. Have a great time and take some of your own excellent advice! "Take lots of pictures" All the best to you, Chuck & Desma West

Tracey Todd
Tracey Todd

Katelyn- I feel so lucky to have a beautiful princess partner...not only on the outside but also on the inside. You are an exceptional young lady and I am so happy for you. Hope you are having a blast! Thanks for being a wonderful role model!

Kurt Kingseed
Kurt Kingseed

Beautiful Daughter, I am looking forward to going back to the Indy 500. My first 500 was in 1966 and I have enjoyed many more. However, this year will be extra special with my Princess being involved! The next two months will be quite the "ride"! Love you, Dad

Kasey May
Kasey May

As a fellow first timer I will also be eager to see what the race is all about. You are such a great role model working with the children!! Good luck!!!

Melinda Showalter
Melinda Showalter

Katelyn, what an honor for you to particpate in such a great Indiana traditon. Enjoy yourself! Your family is so proud of you, what a gift you are to us and to the 500 Princess Program...

Lauren Kingseed
Lauren Kingseed

What an exciting oppertunity for you! I can't think of anyone who deserves it more! What a great way to represent our community and Purdue! I love you!

Drew Kingseed
Drew Kingseed

Katelyn - Have a blast, little sis! What a special opportunity to represent our community! You're the best! Love you!

Grace Kingseed(Grandma)
Grace Kingseed(Grandma)

Katellyn, ALL THE FAMILY are eagerly waiting to watch the 500 this year because of your being a princess . Good luck and enjoy the Big day. Love Grandma Kingseed

Dale Kingseed (Grandpa)
Dale Kingseed (Grandpa)

Katelyn: I enjoyed reading your blog.Honored to be Grandpa to a 500 Princess! Love you!!! Grandpa Dale

Lisa Kingseed
Lisa Kingseed

What an exciting time! Enjoy the month of May and all the festivities!!

Cindy Gordon
Cindy Gordon

What an honor! I hope I can watch all the festivities surrounding your special day!