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Float readies for ‘roll-out’

The shock of a Sept. 8, 2007, fire that destroyed the Sequim Irrigation Festival float on its return from the Hoquiam Loggers Play Day parade has faded and a small crew of volunteers is redoubling its efforts to make this year’s float the biggest and best in six decades. Although the trailer that carried the float was damaged, its insurer declared it totaled and settled the claim for $3,000, said Joe Borden, chairman of the Sequim Irrigation Festival. More than $350 donated by businesses and individuals to purchase a 1985 Ford LTD station wagon has helped temper the loss. With the insurance payment plus funds in reserve, Borden was able to buy a larger, 28-foot trailer for $9,000.

“It’s going to be an extra challenge because we started from the ground up to buy the vehicle and strip it down to the bare engine, frame and dashboard,” Borden said. “We’ve had to completely redo the brakes, exhaust, transmission and tune it up, so the costs have been more extensive this year.” He estimated the committee has invested close to $5,000 in this year’s float.

Allform Welding has donated a tubular steel frame over the car’s chassis and Sequim Auto Clinic supplied the exhaust system and installation.

Parade-goers last year will recall that a giant jukebox “played” rock ’n’ roll tunes — the stereo system and its wiring also were destroyed in the fire, but Alan Burwell of McHugh Realtors came to the rescue by donating a new system.

The theme of the 113th

Irrigation Festival is “Set Your Sails and Discover the Treasure of Sequim” and Guy Horton has designed a sailing ship with a nod toward the sloop Lady Washington. The tall ship, festooned in violet and gold with wood accents, will have mizzen and main masts, two sails, rigging, a moving ship’s wheel and treasure chests that open and close. The finished float will “command the seas” at 22 feet, four feet longer than previous floats. Between April and December, the float and Sequim’s Irrigation Festival royalty will be in 17 parades and festivals from Victoria to Olympia.

Borden, Horton, Lynn Horton, Kevin Kapetan and Brant Parks have been working on the float since January. Bobby and Kenny Roth installed the exhaust, Brad Latos welded the chassis and Bob Holt and Robert Brock repaired other mechanical problems. Other volunteers who readied the float for its official “roll-out” at 7 p.m. April 9 include Barbara Parks, Jean and Rich Wyatt, Deon and Hailey Kapetan, Al Dixon and Amanda Cerutti. For more information or to make a donation, call Borden at 683-3408.

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