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Irrigation carnival stays put

The Sequim Irrigation Festival carnival, seen in 2013, will stay on Sequim School District property after organizers of the festival attempted to find a better-suited site to not displace athletics and distract students.  - Sequim Gazette file photo
The Sequim Irrigation Festival carnival, seen in 2013, will stay on Sequim School District property after organizers of the festival attempted to find a better-suited site to not displace athletics and distract students.
— image credit: Sequim Gazette file photo

After a tentative plan and months of effort to move the Sequim Irrigation Festival's annual carnival from its Sequim School District site, organizers say the event is staying put on May 8-11.

Deon Kapetan, festival director, said she and board members considered sites, namely Carrie Blake Park, for six months to move from the fields between Sequim High School and Helen Haller Elementary School.

“As we searched for other sites, we were concerned for the safety of kids,” she said.

“Police officers being able to see everything going on and at Carrie Blake Park it would have been nice to have it with logging show. But with the water features and amount of trees, it'd be difficult to monitor. It didn't make sense to move it.”

The request to move the carnival came from Sequim schools superintendent Kelly Shea.

He said there were concerns with carnival workers camping behind the Sequim Boys & Girls Club and walking to and from the carnival. The carnival also remains a distraction for students during testing time for the elementary school, Shea said and it might impede on practice fields for the high school’s baseball and softball teams during playoffs time.

However, Kaeptan said they've made a few changes to help alleviate the concerns.

The carnival employees will no longer park and camp on school district property and instead be near the City of Sequim's shop on South Second Avenue adjacent to the bypass.

Dave Garlington, assistant city public works director, said they did this last year and it served as an out of the way place for trailers.

Volunteers also installed a new fence for the varsity girls fastpitch squad this year, but Kapetan said there'd be enough space for the carnival not to invade that area, too.

Shea said working with the festival went great and he's happy two of his three concerns were met.

“They made incredible effort to relocate the carnival,” he said. “From what they explained to me there really wasn't another place that could meet the needs they have with the carnival.”

Shea said one stipulation for the land is that when it was donated to the City of Sequim and later to the schools, the site must remain accessible and allowed for the Sequim Irrigation Festival.

“Is it the ideal spot? No, but it's not detrimental,” Shea said. “My biggest concern was displacement of students and that's not going to happen. With the carnival being there, we will make the best of it.”

The festival's carnival is one of the biggest fundraisers for the festival, Kapetan said, and that in the two years they've worked with Davis Carnivals their attendance has risen.

Kapetan said the carnival also performs background checks on all its employees, too.

All-you-can ride festival bands are on sale now for $20 through Thursday, May 8, at Colors of Sequim, KeyBank, Sound Community Bank and Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce.

 

A few festival changes

In an effort to generate interest and ease of access to events, organizers with the Sequim Irrigation Festival are changing a few things around for its events May 2-11.

Deon Kapetan, festival director, said they specifically wanted to revamp the first weekend because so many events were happening on the second weekend of the festival.

“It was hard for people to go to everything they wanted,” she said.

While most of the events remain intact, some were moved to another date to increase participation.

• Festival organizers renamed the first weekend of the festival to Crazy Callen Weekend in honor of D.R. Callen, one of the pioneers of Sequim's irrigation system.

• The Crazy Days Breakfast has moved from the second weekend to the first on Friday, May 2 in Sunland Golf & Country Club. It still starts at 7 a.m.

• The Kids Parade, typically a few hours before the Grand Parade on the second weekend, has moved to May 3 with registration at 9:30 a.m. in front of Kettel's gas station. The parade begins at 10 a.m. Entries will walk to Sequim Avenue and through the Street Fair on Bell Street. Winners still receive a chance to ride in the Grand Parade the following Saturday.

• The Merchants Fair has merged with the Kids Fair, formerly at Carrie Blake Park, to take place May 3 on Washington Street from Sequim Avenue to Second Avenue. Every booth will have a free family oriented activity.

• For the second weekend of events, they've renamed it the Grand Finale weekend, which Kapetan said allows more time for events like the Car Cruzz, Grand Parade and Dungeness River Run.

On the Merchants Fair and Kids Fair merger, Kapetan said the people were choosing between one or the other and they wanted people to go to both. It was a similar situation for parents deciding on going to the Kids Parade or Grand Parade, Kapetan said, so they separated them.

Entries for the Grand Parade remain open through May 1 at the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce or online at irrigationfestival.com.

 

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