Sequim Middle School’s band marches through the 2019 Sequim Irrigation Festival’s Grand Parade. Tentatively, the Grand Parade shifts to Oct. 10 if group gathering restrictions are lifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Sequim Middle School’s band marches through the 2019 Sequim Irrigation Festival’s Grand Parade. Tentatively, the Grand Parade shifts to Oct. 10 if group gathering restrictions are lifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Irrigation Festival shifts to October this year

Organizers hope for enough time to adjust to COVID-19 impact

Organizers of the 125th Sequim Irrigation Festival look to keep the oldest continuing festival in the state going this fall.

They’ve rescheduled the festival’s Kick-Off Dinner and royalty float unveiling for Saturday, Sept. 19, at 7 Cedars Casino, and all of the festival’s regular events over two weekends Oct. 2-11.

Events will run the same times in October as previously scheduled in May, such as the Grand Parade at noon on Oct. 10.

Events were postponed in March as regulations began to go in place for group gatherings regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deon Kapetan, the festival’s executive director, said they’re preparing for smaller attendance at the festival as people may opt to stay home because of uncertainties with the novel coronavirus.

“Most of our stuff is very local and will remain on a smaller scale with our friends and neighbors,” Kapetan said.

“We’re not sure what parade season will look like going forward. It will be very toned down.”

Each summer, the festival’s royalty travel to parades across Western Washington promoting Sequim, but Kapetan said it’s uncertain when their first parade will be.

This year’s royalty — queen Lindsey Coffman, prince Logan Laxson, princess Alicia Pairadee and princess Olivia Preston — were selected on March 7 at the Scholarship Pageant.

“We’re going to have a leaner traveling schedule because it’s what’s best for the royalty,” Kapetan said.

“At the same time, when it’s safe and we can feel a comfort level then we can have have them on a float and in smiling attire.”

When organizers postponed the festival, they planned to unveil the float on May 1 in Downtown Sequim, but they’ve since opted not to do that.

“We think it would create a gathering, and we don’t want people to think we’re being preemptive,” Kapetan said.

If organizers do attend a parade this summer with the new float, she said they may post it on the festival’s Facebook page.

That date, she said, is a “moving target.”

Kapetan said, “We’ve got some dates in mind.”

Full slate

Kapetan said festival volunteers have worked hard to reschedule events such as the carnival and fireworks show.

However, she noted, the rescheduled dates are tentative and subject to local, state and federal guidelines regarding the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

The festival’s board has continued to meet via online about scheduling and potential guidelines, such

as a suggested 10-foot rule for vendors, which may require more space at particular events, and limiting the amount of people who could possibly attend.

Organizers chose September and October, Kapetan said, because they wanted to give the community and volunteers enough time to adjust.

“It’s not just one event, it’s numerous events,” she said.

“Things will be changed but we just don’t know the extent yet. We’ll know a lot more by October.

“It may still change, and we have to cancel altogether.”

Kapetan said organizers are aware that Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival in Port Angeles is the same time as the Irrigation Festival’s rescheduled second weekend Oct. 9-11, and that they’ve worked with vendors to be reassured there will be enough amenities such as hand washing stations and bathrooms.

“The Crab Festival is in Port Angeles, but it’s not too far away that people couldn’t do both,” she said.

The Irrigation Festival’s Kick-Off Dinner remains sold out. For updates on the festival and events, visit

Reach Matthew Nash at

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