Festival princess promotes Down syndrome awareness

Looking at the message on her T-shirt, Sequim teen Lauren Willis said she believes what it says.

“Down Syndrome is not a disability; it’s a different ability.”

That was her point standing in front of Sequim Walmart on Oct. 20.

As part of being on the Sequim Irrigation Festival’s royalty court, Willis and other royalty commit to a platform, a cause they believe in.

Willis, a princess on the court, handed out ribbons and informational flyers promoting Down syndrome Awareness Month honored each October.

She said she was born with Down syndrome but that it doesn’t define her.

“I’m a normal person,” she said.

Willis’ mom, Sherry, was there with queen Isabella Williams, princess Katherine Gould and festival royalty mom Lynn Horton.

“She’s been excited to do this all week,” Sherry Willis said.

Horton said Willis being on the royalty court has given her a lot of confidence and helped her grow.

The royalty participated in 13 parades this year, including the Sequim Irrigation Festival Grand Parade, and received numerous awards.

“The community support has been great,” Sherry Willis said.

“Anywhere we go in Sequim, people recognize her.”

Up next, the royalty will complete their other platforms: Williams is planning an “Adopt a Grandparent” event; Gould is planning to pick up trash in the area, and princess Ellie Turner is planning an event to honor first responders.

For more about the 2023 Sequim Irrigation Festival, visit irrigationfestival.com.