Royalty contestants for the Sequim Irrigation Festival include, from left, Zoee Kuperus, Sydney VanProyen, Hannah Hampton and Allie Gale. Sequim’s queen and court will be shown at 6 p.m. Saturday online at the festival’s Facebook page and website. (Keith Ross/Keith’s Frame Of Mind)

Royalty contestants for the Sequim Irrigation Festival include, from left, Zoee Kuperus, Sydney VanProyen, Hannah Hampton and Allie Gale. Sequim’s queen and court will be shown at 6 p.m. Saturday online at the festival’s Facebook page and website. (Keith Ross/Keith’s Frame Of Mind)

Irrigation royalty to be crowned online Saturday

Four students in competition have focused platforms

SEQUIM — The Sequim Irrigation Festival’s Royalty Pageant is going online for the first time.

The pageant for four teens — Allie Gale, Hannah Hampton, Zoee Kuperus and Sydney VanProyen — was filmed Saturday inside the Olympic Theatre Arts Center.

Videographer Silas Crews will edit the program for a debut at 6 p.m. Saturday on Sequim Irrigation Festival’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SequimIrrigationFestival, and its website,www.irrigationfestival.com.

Contestants will learn who is crowned queen while watching from home, organizers said.

The decision to go virtual comes after a year of countless community events were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s good we’re still doing it,” Hampton said in a group interview. “It’s nice to have something going on. It adds some stability for the community.”

Kuperus added: “People need something to look forward to because there hasn’t been much to look forward to.”

Gale said even though members of the public won’t be there physically, they will be there in spirit, and “we need to make the best out of what we get.”

“Sure it’s different,” VanProyen said. “Hopefully, this year we all get to do something because it’s a challenge we’re all up for. We want to represent our community, no matter the circumstances.”

In years past, the royalty court traveled across Western Washington with a float to represent Sequim. How much they’ll participate in 2021 is to be determined, festival organizers say.

This year, the 126th consecutive year for the festival, boasts the theme “Sequim, A Place For You to Rome” — paying tribute to the bygone civilization that championed irrigation practices.

At the end of the year, the queen will receive $1,250 and royalty members $1,000 in scholarships.

• Allie Gale

Sponsors: Scott Koenigsaecker, Jennifer Gillis of Sequim Community Church.

Platform: Support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Gale said she found a love for working with children after she became an intern at Sequim Community Church. During the pandemic, she and a friend created a weekly show to provide Bible lessons for children.

She now is drawn to study pediatrics as her career.

After moving to Sequim from Maui in 2012, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, hence her platform to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Gale said since moving here, she’s felt being a part of the royalty would be a good experience.

“From knowing past royalty, it sounded like something that’d be fun,” she said.

Gale enjoys riding ATVs with her dad, Steve, and making crafts with her mom, Lisa.

She also plays on Sequim High School’s tennis and volleyball teams.

• Hannah Hampton

Sponsor: Solar City.

Platform: Support the Olympic Peninsula Autism Center.

Hampton plans to pursue a career as a neurosurgeon.

Hampton said joining the royalty would be a “good opportunity to take part in community service and connect with people in a social way” despite the pandemic.

She spends a lot of time with her family, parents Chance and Sarah O’Neil and sisters Karli, Cameryn and Elaina — helping raise pigs, turkeys, goats and chickens on their farm.

She also bakes breads and treats such as eclairs.

She’s active at Sequim High School, serving as Associated Student Body secretary, Future Business Leaders of America president, on the boards of the Health Occupational Students of America and Knowledge Bowl, and as a student liaison to the Sequim City Council.

In high school, Hampton has accumulated more than 150 community service hours.

Her platform supports the Olympic Peninsula Autism Center because her younger sister has mild autism and she hopes to support those affected by it.

• Zoee Kuperus

Sponsor: Jose’s Famous Salsa.

Platform: Support the Welfare of Animals Guild.

Kuperus’ passion is art, anything from painting to photography, ceramics to origami. She has competed in multiple art contests and won the 2018 Sequim BirdFest People’s Choice Award.

She said she never imagined trying out for the pageant but her friend VanProyen suggested it.

“We’re still not back in a school building yet, so I thought it’d be a good opportunity to be involved and a good social opportunity,” she said.

During the pandemic, Kuperus said she taught herself to crochet and continued her small business of shoe customization and making resin creations.

She is working on an associate of arts degree in computer science at Peninsula College and plans to transfer to Western Washington University to pursue computer science, emphasizing animation and/or video game design.

Kuperus also has a musical background, playing piano, ukulele and flute.

Her platform supports the Welfare for Animals Guild because she loves animals.

• Sydney VanProyen

Sponsor: O’Bria PNW.

Platform: Support Captain Joseph’s House.

VanProyen was named Miss Congeniality in the pageant last year.

“I thought it was a good opportunity and I loved (pageant co-directors) Lynn (Horton) and Robin (Bookter),” she said. “When you do this, you get to be with each other and it’s like a family. It’s a good opportunity to represent the town, too.”

Her platform seeks to support the Captain Joseph’s House Foundation in Port Angeles.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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