Two of the 500 Festival Princesses hail from Noblesville - (left) Elizabeth Baker and (right) Jaslin Martinez.

Two Noblesville Residents Named 500 Festival Princesses

The Indy 500 and the month of May hold a treasure trove of traditions, one of which is the esteemed 500 Festival Princess Program. Hundreds of aspiring young Hoosier women submit their applications each year, hoping to secure a spot among the prestigious 33 finalists. These finalists are chosen based on a variety of criteria, including their communication skills, academic achievements, community engagement, dedication to service, and leadership qualities. The program began in 1959 and has seen over 2,000 exceptional young women grace its ranks.

In 2024 the 500 Festival Princesses hail from 18 different colleges and universities in Indiana, representing 23 diverse cities and towns across the state. Among these remarkable young women are two standout residents of Noblesville – Elizabeth Baker and Jaslin Martinez.

Baker, a graduate of Noblesville High School’s class of 2019, is embarking on her first year as a medical student at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Inspired by her parents’ stories of past participants, she applied to the 500 Festival Princess Program, eager to create her own memorable experience.

“I grew up going to the race every year, so I looked up to the princesses,” Baker says. “My parents told me about professional women they knew who participated in the program. From their experience, I knew it would be an excellent opportunity to serve as a role model for other young Hoosier women. I also thought it would be a very fulfilling experience.”

As part of their duties as 500 Festival Princesses, each of the 33 selected participants is tasked with organizing four distinctive community outreach events. Baker took her role to heart and made a significant impact through her efforts.

For her first outreach event, Baker collaborated with the American Red Cross to host a blood drive in Speedway, Indiana. Not only did she help organize the event, but she also generously donated a unit of blood, potentially saving three lives in the process.

In March, Baker and five other princesses attended the World Down Syndrome Day celebration, where they warmly greeted families on the red carpet, spreading joy and inclusivity in the community.

In April Baker shared her passion for volunteerism with the Noblesville Lions Club. She delivered a presentation on the various volunteer opportunities available through the 500 Festival, inspiring others to get involved and give back.

Finally, for her last outreach event, Baker returned to her roots at Linden Tree in downtown Noblesville, where she had dedicated her time throughout high school. Here, she continued her commitment to service, embodying the spirit of the 500 Festival Princess Program through her actions in her own community.

“All the other participants are like-minded, very driven individuals,” Baker says. “We’ve all participated heavily in community service in the past. Everyone I’ve interacted with goes above and beyond the program’s minimum requirements, which is amazing. They’re all working hard to advance their education, so it’s a great way to make connections in other fields.”

The women receive a $1,000 scholarship to assist with educational expenses, made possible by Marlyne Sexton, an Indianapolis philanthropist and president of The Sexton Companies and the 500 Festival Foundation. Baker hopes to become a doctor in the future, and is still deciding what type of doctor she would like to be. She says she is grateful for the scholarship, which will help her achieve her goals.

“I feel so grateful to have been chosen out of so many applicants,” Baker says. “It’s such a great way to give back to the state of Indiana, which I love. I’ve done all my schooling here in-state and think this program is impressive.”

Martinez boasts an impressive background as a Purdue University senior majoring in public health. Having graduated from Fishers High School in 2020, Martinez seized the opportunity to apply for the 500 Festival Princess Program with clear goals in mind.

Driven by a desire to expand her network within the Lafayette, Indianapolis and Fishers communities, Martinez was eager to cultivate leadership skills, engage in community service and participate in meaningful outreach initiatives.

For her initial outreach endeavor, Martinez dedicated her time to West Lafayette Intermediate School’s after-school tutoring program, helping students with their homework assignments. Additionally, she initiated an IndyCar design contest, sparking creativity and enthusiasm among participants.

For her next outreach initiative, Martinez volunteered at the Lighthouse Autism Center in Fishers, where she orchestrated a music day event. Leading an Indy 500-themed sensory activity, Martinez engaged with participants in a meaningful and memorable way, exemplifying the values of the 500 Festival Princess Program through her commitment to community service and inclusivity.

“My third event was gathering the other Purdue 500 Festival Princesses to volunteer for the Walk a Mile with the Dean at Purdue, promoting exercise medicine for the College of Health and Human Services.”

Her last community outreach event is slated for May with 91 Place, which provides transitional housing, workforce development and mental health support to youths aged 16 to 24 facing homelessness in Indianapolis. She will volunteer at their annual fundraiser, Blue Jeans and Blingo, setting up, tearing down, running the raffle tables and leading bingo.

“In the future I plan to continue my community outreach opportunities as I did previously,” Martinez says. “I’m forever grateful for this opportunity to be a 500 Festival Princess. The people I’ve met so far are so great. I’m excited to see what comes out of all the relationships I’ll foster within the Lafayette, Fishers and Indianapolis communities. I can’t wait to build my relationship with my mentor. Also, I would love the opportunity if anyone wanted to contact me to assist with events specifically geared toward the Latino and African American communities.”

Following her completion of studies at Purdue, Martinez intends to embark on a gap year as she applies to various physician assistant school programs and gains valuable experience working in a hospital setting. With her sights set on attending Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Martinez aims to establish connections within the Indianapolis area, particularly with renowned hospitals and esteemed faculty.

Martinez’s professional aspirations are centered around becoming a physician assistant, a career path she finds personally fulfilling due to its versatility across various medical specialties. Her passion for continuous learning drives her, and she envisions a future where she can collaborate with exceptional physicians and health care professionals to create a holistic health care environment that prioritizes comprehensive patient care.

For a complete list of 500 Festival Princesses, visit

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