WEEKEND: Sequim to crown Irrigation Festival royalty Saturday

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– The oldest continuous festival in the state of Washington kicks off Saturday as four Sequim High School juniors vie for the title of Irrigation Festival queen.

The royalty pageant will be at 7 p.m. in the Sequim High School auditorium, 533 N. Sequim Ave.

Throughout the year, the royalty court will represent Sequim in parades and community gatherings.

Competing for the queen title, and a $1,000 college scholarship, are Angela Bentley, Lavee Hess, Christie Honore and Danyelle Wilson. All four will be in the royalty court.

Each princess will be given a $750 scholarship.

Tickets for the pageant are $5 and are available at Gabby’s Java & Gourmet Grub, Pacific Mist Books, Solar City Tanning and at the door.

Directors Whitley Sakas and Lynn Horton have made a few changes to this year’s pageant, which is sponsored by Clallam Co-op Farm and Garden.

Instead of the pageant’s tradition of formal speeches, each contestant will share with judges displays of their creative talents, and the four young women will share their personal platform: a special community-building initiative each plans to spearhead if selected queen.

“We thought there were some things we could do to freshen up the pageant and involve these wonderful young women in our community,” Sakas said.

The 118th Irrigation Festival will run from May 3-12 with events all over Sequim and the Dungeness Valley.

The festival theme this year is “Dancing Through the Valley.”

It is meant to reflect mid-20th-century Sequim, in which barns, grange halls and even the city’s streets were home to rip-roaring dances.

Horton said the pageant also is focused on the ’50s theme, with the girls delighting the crowd while dancing in letter sweaters, clam-diggers and bobby socks.

“It’s going to be a really fun, ’50s-style production,” Horton said.

The contestants for the queen crown are:

■   Angela Bentley, 16, daughter of Rick and Ginna Bentley, will read a poem she wrote about the century of Sequim titled “Generation Y.”

Angela’s platform is to work with students in the city’s elementary schools to develop a love for reading.

“I really want to help foster a love of reading in the kids because I love to read, and I feel their reading is so important in learning about the world,” Angela said.

She is sponsored by Pacific Mist Books.

■   Lavee Hess, 16, niece of Richard and Pamela Newman, plans to sing and play guitar to the song “Perfect” by Pink.

Lavee’s platform is work with the Sequim Food Bank to help feed the hungry, a mission she said struck her on a mission trip to Mexico.

“I saw so much poverty and hunger down there,” she said.

“So working with the food bank makes me feel like I’m helping somehow.”

Lavee is sponsored by WildBleu Sleepwear.

■   Christie Honore, 17, daughter of Carl and Julie Honore, will read a collection of soliloquies spoken by the character Helena in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Her platform is to help promote the performing arts in the district’s schools.

“The arts are really starting to take a back seat in our schools. I think they’re very important and should really be emphasized,” Christie said.

She is sponsored by Cole’s Jewelers.

■   Danyelle Wilson, 16, daughter of Tom and Mary Wilson, will display her oil painting of Hurricane Ridge and discuss her painting techniques and inspiration.

Danyelle’s platform is to take the royal court to visit elderly citizens in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers.

“I know a lot of seniors can get lonely,” she said.

“Sometimes a visit from a smiling young person can brighten their day.”

She is sponsored by Gabby’s Java & Gourmet Grub.

The royal court rides through parades atop the Irrigation Festival float, which will be unveiled at the fundraiser kickoff dinner and auction Saturday, March 23, in the Club Seven lounge at 7 Cedars Casino.

The kickoff will be the first formal introduction of the 2013 royalty, pioneers and grand marshal.

________

Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 24. 2013 7:22PM
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