2 Carmel women serve as 500 Festival Princesses


Mikayla Tom has been going to the Indianapolis 500 nearly her entire life.

“My dad grew up in Speedway, and the 500 Festival and Indy 500 itself and everything in between has always weaved its way into my family traditions,” Tom said. “It’s been with me all while growing up. When my sister, Mary-Matalyn Tom, applied last year and became a 500 Festival Princess, I knew this year it was my year to apply, and I’m grateful I did.”

Tom, a 2019 Carmel High School graduate, is joined as a Princess by fellow Carmel resident Kendall Claymon, a Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School graduate. The Princesses are selected through an application process and must be between the ages 18 of 23 and attend college in Indiana.

“I’m so excited to see the outreaches that I have that are interweaving to my family traditions and the 500 Festival traditions as well as the 500 Festival  parade,” Tom said. “My sister has coached me through how exciting all the events are, and just seeing the previous class’ beautiful friendships that are still carrying on to this day, they talk every single day. I’m so excited to have that in my life.”

Tom is a senior in the honors college studying business administration at Indiana University Kokomo. She has a concentration in marketing and a minor in new media art and technology.

Tom looks forward to the 500 Festival Parade, which she has never attended.

Claymon, a freshman at Purdue University, is majoring in biomedical health sciences on a pre-dental track.

“I’ve known a few girls who’ve been Princesses in the past, and I’ve always gone to the parade as a little kid,” Claymon said. “I’m interested in all the outreach events I’ve been through so far and the ones I have in the future. I’ve done a few events with Girls on the Run. I love the opportunity to just inspire young women.”