500 Festival Princess ready to adapt in year of uncertainty


For Jackie Carnaghi, being a 500 Festival Princess seemed the perfect way to show community support.


“I felt this was a great opportunity to get involved and give back to the city I love so much on a higher profile stage,” she said. “I know at least four women who have been previous Princesses over the years. I remember when I decided I wanted to apply for the 500 Festival Princess Program, I called them and asked what I should do to prepare for the interviews.

“I was so nervous, so I made sure I fully prepared and studied all of the events that were happening during the months leading up to the Indianapolis 500.”

It paid off as Carnaghi, a Carmel resident, was selected earlier this year as one of 33 Princesses. The coronavirus pandemic postponed the Indy 500 from its customary Memorial Day weekend spot to Aug. 23. Many of the events have been rescheduled for August, with the 500 Festival Parade set for Aug. 22.

Carnaghi is most looking forward to the Aug. 8 Salesforce & JP Morgan Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day and Rookie Run.

“I love children and seeing how much fun they have while partaking in all of the activities scheduled for them,” she said.

Carnaghi said she is cautiously optimistic about events being held.

“I want to see events held and done so accordingly only if deemed safe by medical experts,” she said. “I know many others are looking forward to the events scheduled, but this city and this group of fellow Princesses are extremely adaptable and will make the best of any changes and decisions made to keep the public safe.”

The 2015 Bishop Chatard High School graduate, who played basketball, volleyball at tennis at Chatard, graduated from Butler with a degree in anthropology and a minor in creative writing. Carnaghi is scheduled to graduate from IUPUI in May 2021 with a master’s degree in applied medical anthropology.

“My focus of study is on the topic of pharmacy deserts in low-Income neighborhoods,” she said. “My goal is to create ‘pharmacy trucks’ to provide a service for those who cannot purchase basic medication. I personally believe that every human has the right to a healthy life, which includes basic medication or even prescription medication.”


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