The 2018 Irrigation Festival Royalty Pageant contestants are, from back left, Liliana Williams, Janeydean O’Connor, Eden Batson, Gabi Simonson, and front left, Erin Gordon, McKenna Kelbel and Gracelyn Hurdlow. (Matt Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

The 2018 Irrigation Festival Royalty Pageant contestants are, from back left, Liliana Williams, Janeydean O’Connor, Eden Batson, Gabi Simonson, and front left, Erin Gordon, McKenna Kelbel and Gracelyn Hurdlow. (Matt Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Seven vie for Sequim Irrigation Festival royal court on Saturday

SEQUIM — Seven young women are contestants in this year’s 41st annual Irrigation Festival Royalty Pageant set for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Sequim High School auditorium.

Contestants at the school at 601 N. Sequim Ave., will perform creative displays and answer impromptu questions as judges determine the best representatives of Sequim in the coming year at the irrigation festival May 4-13 and at about 17 parades for other festivals around the state.

Contestants for royalty vie for three spots as princesses and one spot for a queen.

Once they have completed their reign, the queen will receive a $1,250 scholarship while the three princesses will each be given a $1,000 scholarship.

Participating in the pageant are Eden Batson, Erin Gordon, Gracelyn Hurdlow, McKenna Kelbel, Janeydean O’Connor, Gabi Simonson and Liliana Williams. All are from the Sequim School District.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children younger than 12. Pre-sale tickets are available at Sequim First Federal locations, and the Sequim-Dungeness Chamber of Commerce. They also will be available at the door.

For more information, go to, or contact Lynn Horton, pageant director, at 360-808-5623.

Here are the seven young women vying for the 2018 Irrigation Festival Pageant spots and a little bit about them.

Eden Batson

Parents: Shelley and Bill Batson.

Platform: Working through the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula to arrange a number of dance, art, and music classes for children and low-income families.

Creative display: Dancing to “Skinny Love” by Birdy.

Hobbies/activities: Dancing, pencil drawing, collecting antique books and writing.

Future: She said she plans to earn a registered nursing degree where her extensive knowledge of the deaf culture and American Sign Language will be an asset.

Erin Gordon

Parents: Li Hui and Scott Gordon.

Platform: Diversity and educating the community on understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing our differences.

Creative display: Singing a song from the movie “Mulan,” “Reflection” in Mandarin Chinese in her mother’s traditional Asian gown she wore for her wedding.

Hobbies/activities: Makeup artistry, singing, acting, playing piano and archery with her father.

Future: She wants to become a reconstructive plastic surgeon and continue to be involved in an acting and modeling agency in Seattle called Kim Brooke talent agency. She hopes to attend the University of Washington.

Gracelyn Hurdlow

Parents: Amy and Travis Hurdlow.

Platform: Read Across America.

Creative Display: Henna designs.

Hobbies/activities: Reading, henna artistry, hiking the Olympic Mountains with family, floating on the Dungeness River with friends.

Future: She will take a “gap year” after high school to travel with Youth with a Mission to the Pacific Islands or Papua New Guinea to work with a team of doctors and nurses to help those in need. Then, she plans to attend nursing school and specialize in pediatrics.

McKenna Kelbel

Parents: Robert Kelbel and Sherree Rawlins.

Platform: Body positivity and showing young girls how to achieve a positive body image.

Creative display: Playing the ukulele and singing “Try” by Colbie Caillat.

Hobbies/activities: Playing ukulele, cheerleading, spending time with family and friends.

Future: Attend a university to study to become a forensic science technician.

Janeydean O’Connor

Parents: Becky and Patrick O’Connor.

Platform: Sweet Cases.

Creative display: Playing the oboe and dancing on point to “Swan Lake.”

Hobbies/activities: Ballet, playing the oboe, 4H, and being a part of Know Your Government (KYG).

Future: She plans to attend Washington State University and eventually work in the dental field.

Gabi Simonson

Parents: Jonathan and Kenda Simonson.

Platform: Mentoring and partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula to encourage children to fulfill their potential.

Creative display: Singing and playing guitar for a song she wrote and recorded for a friend called “The Way You Are.”

Hobbies/activities: She plays six instruments: guitar, ukulele, banjo, drums, bass guitar and piano. She said she also loves kids and teaches Sunday school at Sequim Valley Foursquare Church where her father is pastor.

Future: She wants to own a coffee shop with a daycare attached so that when mothers come they can have their kids taken care of and have it be a part of the community, not just a place in the community.

Liliana “Lily” Williams

Parents: Karla and Chad Williams.

Platform: Bullying in school.

Creative display: An interpretive dance to “Clay” by Grace VanderWaal about a girl being bullied.

Hobbies/activities: Ballet for five years, being outdoors and spending time with family and friends.

Future: She plans to attend college to learn architecture and interior design.

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