3 500 Festival princesses boast Carmel ties

Olivia Walker

Olivia Walker

Emily Weiss

Emily Weiss

By Mark Ambrogi


Being a 500 Festival princess seemed like the right fit for Olivia Walker.

“I saw many women who I was very impressed with and who I thought had very strong ideas and really cared about their community go through the program,” said Walker, who is in her fourth year of a six-year pharmacy doctorate program. “So looking to them as role models, I saw this as something I would want to get involved with, and I haven’t been disappointed in the slightest. These 32 women are leaders among their community, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Walker said she had known princesses from organizations she was in as well as her sorority, Delta Gamma.

“So I knew these were women of character, and I felt like-minded,” Walker said.

Walker used to work at an assisted living community in Carmel.

“A lot of my outreach has been focused on the elderly population,” Walker said. “I really enjoy that because I get to go back to places I worked and spend time with the residents there. It’s something they enjoy because they enjoy the 500 Festival and race through their time growing up in Indiana.”

Walker is one of two Carmel residents serving as a 500 princess this year. Emily Weiss, a 2013 Guerin Catholic High School graduate, is an Indiana University senior.

“I’m really passionate about the health wellness issues that the 500 Festival promotes, like the Mini-Marathon and Kids Days activities and smaller races,” she said.

Weiss, an exercise science major who plans to go into physical therapy, is a huge proponent of people being active.

She watched as someone she knew through another friend at IU serve as a princess last year.

“The growth and development she achieved and all the activities she did really inspired me to try for it,” Weiss said.

Another princess, Shivani Bajpai, is a Zionsville resident who graduated from Carmel High School in 2013.

Bajpai, an IUPUI senior, is a biology major and is waiting to hear from her medical school applications.

“My best friend (Lena Peters) was a princess (in 2015), so I was just watching her do all these amazing things,” Bajpai said. “I saw her grow as a person, too, over the year. When the princess applications opened again, it was like, ‘You got to do it.’”


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