The “awe factor” remained high for the Sequim Irrigation Festival royalty six months later, as the Sequim teens saw their float for the first time last Saturday.
“It’s awesome!” queen Lindsey Coffman said.
“I love it,” added princess Alicia Pairadee.
COVID-19 concerns led organizers to delay the festival’s Kickoff Dinner and Auction for its 125th year along with the float reveal from March to Sept. 19.
Instead, they held a virtual reveal to show the float made by Guy Horton, David Blakeslee and John Riley.
“It was a labor of love,” Horton said.
He and the crew spent 600-plus hours making the float that will be used for two events — the kickoff and a procession (smaller parade) on Oct. 10.
Horton and fellow crew members couldn’t work together on the float because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so they mostly worked alone, he said.
The float features the Olympic Mountains as a backdrop along with 30 different photographs of historic Sequim, courtesy of Sequim Museum and Arts. Jean Wyatt wrapped around buckets that light up and spin.
“I thought it was cool they incorporated all the old photographs,” said prince Logan Laxson.
“It gives a perspective of how old the festival is.”
Princess Brii Hingtgen said she’s been wanting to see the float since she tried out for the royalty, and Pairadee said she goes to church across from the float barn where it was made and she didn’t take and glances over because she wanted to keep it a surprise.
In past years, the float made appearances at parades throughout Western Washington and Canada representing and promoting Sequim. However, because of Washington state’s health guidelines for COVID-19, no plans were made for the royalty outside of the Irrigation Festival’s events, organizers said.
Despite the lack of events, royalty did meet to work on their song together, they said.
“These are unprecedented times,” Deon Kapetan, the festival’s executive director, said. “But I’m proud of you guys for rolling with the punches.”
As a ceremonial act, the royalty and a few participants of the virtual unveiling rode/walked around the 7 Cedars Casino’s parking lot.
Afterward, volunteers and royalty handed out meals to Kickoff Dinner ticket holders with an online silent and live auction held. Funds from the auction support scholarships for the royalty and festival operations. Organizers said they exceeded their $20,000 goal but still seek support for the float at www.kickoff2020.givesmart.com or by dropping a donation off at the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce.
125 continuous years
Two weekends of events will be consolidated into one day on Oct. 10 for the festival’s 125th year, branded “125 the Fields are Alive.”
Because of recent smoke issues from region wildfires, organizers opted not to hold a fireworks show this year. However, more details are to be announced about an online show from years past.
Instead of the full parade, a procession of dignitaries will take place from 5-6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, with a route to be announced soon.
“I’m super excited for the events we’re putting on,” Kapetan said.
“People in this group have persevered. They all had to think outside the box, so it’s like putting on a whole new festival.”
Additional festival events
Innovative Arts and Crafts Show
For its 30th year, the Innovative Arts and Crafts Show joins the Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market on the Sequim Civic Center Plaza on Oct. 10. Contact: Renne Brock at Innovativeac@IrrigationFestival.com.
Past Royalty Luncheon
The Past Royalty Luncheon is open to the public via a virtual meeting with more information at the festival’s website.
Kids Parade/Family Fun Day
Families with children 12 and younger are encouraged to dress up for the virtual Kids Parade. Children can win prizes for “Best Storybook Character,” “Best Pet Entry,” “Best Mini Floats,” “Best Festival Theme” and “Grand Prize.” To submit an entry, email to email@example.com.
Organizers are also working on activity packets for families to pick up for Family Fun Day, too.
Crazy Daze Breakfast
Businesses are encouraged to send a video of a skit to Julianne Coonts at firstname.lastname@example.org before Sept. 26. Skits should reflect the theme “125 the Fields are Alive.” Winners will be awarded a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant. Organizers encourage people to pick up breakfast from their favorite restaurant while watching the virtual event, too.
Organizers opted to cancel the following events because of COVID-19 concerns: the carnival; fireworks (in-person); Hot Rods & Harleys Show n’ Cruise; Historic Walking Tour; Irrigation Festival Fun Run; Logging Show, Truck and Tractor Pull, and Strongman Showdown.