"What I got from being a Princess could never be repaid, but I wanted to give back in any way I could."
- Adrianne Johnson
Adrianne Johnson was a 2015 500 Festival Princess. Now, she's a 2017 500 Festival award-winning volunteer. Named one of the 500 Festival's unsung heroes, Adrianne was thrilled to stay involved with the community through volunteering and rejoining the month of May festivities. Here's what Adrianne had to say about being both a Princess and a volunteer; two types of roles that make the 500 Festival what it is:
What I got from being a Princess could never be repaid, but I wanted to give back in any way I could. I'd been a Festival volunteer in high school and had a lot of fun doing it. There were so many different opportunities to give back... the Education Program, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, the mini-mini, the IPL 500 Festival Parade, and so on.
The 500 Festival mission of sharing civic pride in Indiana through celebrating the Indianapolis 500 is more than one can imagine. The history, the pageantry, the community. All of the traditions.
My favorite memory from volunteering last spring is the Mini-Marathon. I've volunteered with the Back of the Pack for the last two seasons. Seeing people trek 13.1 miles, celebrating life, honoring their body's movement, lifting one another up, cheering one another on... there's so much love, hope and joy in those miles. So much that you forget the pain your body feels and you sign up to do it next year!
My experience was more than I ever could have imagined. I didn't know much about the Princess Program going in. I read up on it before applying on the last day applications were open. I'd thought about applying in years past but was too afraid. I had no idea what to expect.
Everything was humbling and invigorating. The interviews, orientation, our first events. I was a complete deer in the headlights. But this program, these people, came when I most needed it.
I discovered confidence I had forgotten I possessed. I made friendships that will last me a lifetime. I made memories with my family that I will cherish forever. I remember being notified that I was selected and calling my dad to hear him whoop and holler... and calling my grandma and hearing the happy tears. This program empowered me. Plain and simple.
One of the best moments was getting to share the Snakepit Ball with my parents.
Adrianne was named a 2017 Unsung Hero for "always being open to do more than what was expected with a smile on her face."
Learn more about the 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by Reis-Nichols.
Learn more about the 500 Festival Volunteer Program, presented by Citizens Energy Group.