Like the 124th Sequim Irrigation Festival’s tag line— “There’s no Place like Home” — there’s no better place and time start to the festival season than the annual Royalty Pageant.
This year, six Sequim students compete for four spots on the royalty court including the coveted queen’s seat. The pageant begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9 at Sequim High School’s Auditorium, 533 N. Sequim Ave., with tickets available at the door for $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Advance tickets are available at Sound Community Bank in Sequim and Sequim First Federal branches.
This year’s contestants include: Ana Benitez, sponsored by YMCA of the Olympic Peninsula; Brianna Cowan, sponsored by Sanford Irrigation; Kjirstin Foresman, sponsored by Blue Sky Property Management; Erin Rosengren, sponsored by Sunny Farms Country Store; Emily Silva, sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County, and Shelby Wells, sponsored by Sound Community Bank.
At the pageant, they will presents creative displays, answer impromptu questions and more to win a chance to represent Sequim in festivals and events for a year.
This year’s queen can receive a $1,250 college scholarship and each princess $750 in scholarships.
Guy Horton and former festival queen Karla Najera host the pageant.
The Sequim Irrigation Festival celebrates its 124th year May 3-12. Read about more upcoming events here: www.irrigationfestival.com.
Ana has attended Sequim schools for eight years and she comes from a Chilean/Mexican background that immigrated to the United States two generations ago.
Ana said she is a hard worker and opted to take geometry in a semester in order to take calculus as a senior setting her up to better pursue engineering field. She enjoys a number of sports including lacrosse, swimming and skiing and many more. Ana also enjoys cooking with her mom, especially her family recipe for tamales at Christmas.
Her favorite place to visit in Sequim is Rainshadow Coffee and particularly enjoys ordering a 12-ounce iced mocha.
For her creative display, Ana will show and discuss how she made a pair of pants. If chosen for court, her platform will focus on family health, likely through the YMCA.
Ana said she wants to be on the royalty court because she’s seen how it’s impacted past royalty members and given them good life skills.
“I was a very introverted person and I would like to change that and become more social,” she said.
Brianna was born and raised in Sequim and finds that despite living with Type 1 diabetes since 2004 it’s never held her back.
Some of her accomplishments include becoming an honor students and being a part of the Sequim High School cheer squad.
Brianna said volunteering the past two summers at Camp Leo helping younger children with Type 1 diabetes has helped her discover her passion for helping others.
After high school, she plans to attend Seattle Pacific University to become a nurse practitioner specializing in pediatric endocrinology.
In Sequim, she loves going to its beaches — particularly with her dog Ginger.
For her creative display, Brianna will share and teach a cheer.
If chosen for the court, Brianna wants to support Beyond Type 1, an organization that empowers other Type 1 diabetics to have strength, courage and support.
Brianna said she wants to be on the royalty court because she’s always looked up to past royalty.
“They’ve made a big impact on my life, and I’d hope to make an impact on other children’s lives,” she said.
Kjirstin moved to Sequim five years ago from Bellingham, and said she appreciates the area’s uniqueness.
She takes pride in being a Sequim High School band officer and playing snare for the marching band and percussion for the band ensemble. For the pageant, she plans to play music on the xylophone.
After graduation, Kjirstin wants to attend the University of Washington to pursue a major in biochemistry.
Her favorite place to visit in town is Sequim Spice & Tea, and particularly likes their peppermint tea.
Kjirstin said tat if she’s selected for the royalty court she’s chosen to help foster children on the peninsula as her platform.
She was recently taken in by a family she loves to call her own and said she knows it’s a difficult and stressful time for children in foster cases. She said she wishes to spread awareness of foster children around the peninsula.
Kjirstin also said she wants to be on the court because she enjoys meeting with people.
“I don’t get nervous, and I’m good at connecting with people,” she said. “This will also be a good opportunity to get more immersed in Sequim since I haven’t lived here my whole life.”
Erin moved to Sequim five years ago from El Paso, Texas, for better weather to help with her dad’s health. She finds family to be very important with her pioneer stock father and Native American mother and two brothers, sister and brother-in-law, and 5-month-old nephew.
Erin said she loves to travel and has gone across the Western U.S., Canada and Japan where she was an exchange student her freshman year. She plans to attend college to study general or special education.
She said enjoys attending the Irrigation Festival carnival and the lavender farms — specifically for lavender ice cream and lavender lemonade.
For her creative display, Erin plans to share a native dance she learned from her mom. If selected, her platform will support autism awareness because she and two of siblings have autism.
Erin said she wants to be on the royalty court because she’s always wanted to try new things.
Emily has lived in Sequim her whole life and currently attends Sequim High School. She’s proud of her accomplishments of being recognized in the National Honor Society and running varsity for Sequim’s cross country squad.
She also enjoys spending time with her family and cat Pebbles.
Emily hopes to attend Gonzaga University to study business and marketing.
In Sequim, she enjoys taking walks on Port Williams.
For the pageant, Emily plans to present on running for her creative display. If she’s selected to be a royal, she hopes to bring awareness to breast cancer research because she lost her grandmother before she was born to the disease. Her aunt was also diagnosed with stage 2 cancer as well.
As for why she wants to be on the court, Emily said her mom Julianne Coonts was queen of the court one year and she’s “always looked up to her.”
“If I was able to become a royal, I know it would make my mom proud,” she said.
Shelby was born and raised in Sequim, and said there’s no place she’d rather call home.
She enjoys English class and writing is something she says she’s passionate and helps express her feelings and telling original stories. Shelby enjoys athletics and continues to play softball.
After high school, she plans to attend Peninsula College to pursue her dreams of working in the medical field.
Her favorite place to visit in Sequim is Bell Hill for its view, especially at night.
“The lookout is amazing,” she said. “I can see the water, the mountains and the city at night when it glows.”
For the pageant, Shelby plans to play on acoustic guitar and sing. If selected to the court, she plans to support the Welfare for Animals Guild in some capacity because she appreciates their effort to save local dogs.
Shelby said she’s gone to every Grand Parade since she can remember and almost every pageant.
“I’ve always looked up to the girls running for the court,” she said. “They’ve been huge role models in my life. I’ve always wanted to be a princess, and make a difference.”