While the Irrigation Festival’s tagline “122 Skies of Blue” may not have held up last weekend, the wet weather didn’t dampen Sequim’s good times.
Organizers report all events continued as usual and turnouts were mostly packed for the festival’s Grand Finale weekend on May 12-14.
“It shows we’re true Washingtonians,” said the festival’s Executive Director Deon Kapetan.
The Crazy Callen weekend started the festival, which remains the longest running festival in the state, on May 5-7 with events such as the Crazy Daze Breakfast, Kids Parade and the Innovative Arts & Crafts Fair.
Stormy weather shook Sequim on May 5, too, but eventually cleared. Locals and visitors saw the gamut of the Pacific Northwest’s poor weather with downpours, hail and some thunder and lightning mixed in briefly.
But Kapetan said the festival’s tagline remains relevant 122 years later — “Where water is wealth, right?”
All events proceeded as usual and attendance was big especially for the Grand Parade and Logging Show on May 13, she said.
The carnival ran Thursday-Sunday and made similar revenues as last year despite the poor conditions, Kapetan said.
Randy Perry, organizer of the Hot Rods & Harleys Show n’ Cruzz, which drove cars the parade route to park at Walmart, said they had nearly 200 vehicles participate last year and 120 this year due to the weather.
“This weekend is supposed to be in the 70s. If we had that, we’d have over 200 (vehicles) for sure,” he said.
The Grand Parade, one of the festival’s Grand Finale events, saw thousands of spectators keep tradition going by lining up from the staging area at North Dunlap Avenue to Seventh Avenue to see more than 100 entries including the Sequim Irrigation Royalty.
This year’s royalty Queen Karla Najera, Princess Alison Cobb, Princess Abby Norman and Princess Emily Straling and their aero-inspired float are only getting started as they have 14 more parades to go including the Rhody Festival’s Grand Parade on May 20 and the Victoria Day Parade on May 22.
Volunteers will join the royalty at each event and Kapetan said more than 200 volunteers help the festival continue each year.
“People seem to be taking more pride in the festival each year,” she said.
“Hats off to the volunteers. It is so rare to have something this big that is all volunteer. Many of those other festivals are really struggling. The only thing we’re struggling with is getting bigger.”
Festival board members meet again in June to discuss this year and next with the 123rd Sequim Irrigation Festival running May 4-13, 2018.
Sequim High School’s Operetta “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” running in conjunction with the festival, finishes its three-week run with three showings this week at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 18, and 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, May 19-20, at Sequim High School Auditorium, 533 N. Sequim Ave.
For the festival’s Grand Parade, fellow festivals took home the big prizes.
The Tacoma Daffodil Festival won the Grand Sweepstakes and the Marysville Strawberry Festival won the President’s Award while the Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival took home the Governor’s Award.
Soroptimist International of Sequim won the Mayor’s Award and festivals Fathoms of Fun and Forks’ Old Fashioned Fourth of July won the Chairman’s Award and Best Patriotic Award, respectively.
Chimacum High School took home best band honors followed by Sequim High School and Port Angeles High School. Olympic View Middle School earned best middle school band, too.
In the Irrigation Festival Fun Run 5k, more than 70 participants ran the event with Gretchen Sotebeer winning the women’s race with a time of 22:06.22 and Nathan Despain winning the men’s race at 18:59.37. Taking second and third for the men were Dallin Despain at 19:38.38 and Thomas Winfield at 21:50.31 and for the women’s race Angela Busby took second at 22.32.96 and Pauline Geraci took third at 23.21.10. See full results at facebook.com/5kfunrunsequim.
At the Hot Rods & Harleys Show n’ Cruzz, organizers are still tabulating results, but Ken and Colleen Bitter of Sequim won People’s Choice with their 1956 Chevy Bel Air. Look for results at facebook.com/SequimIrrigationfestivalcarshow.
Results for other events are still forthcoming so look for more information at the Sequim Irrigation Festival’s Facebook page at facebook.com/SequimIrrigation Festival.