Judges name the 2024 Sequim Irrigation Festival court on Feb. 24 at Sequim High School. Pictured, from left, are princesses Ashlynn Northaven and Sophia Treece, queen Ariya Goettling and princess Kailah Blake. (Emily Matthiessen/for Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Judges name the 2024 Sequim Irrigation Festival court on Feb. 24 at Sequim High School. Pictured, from left, are princesses Ashlynn Northaven and Sophia Treece, queen Ariya Goettling and princess Kailah Blake. (Emily Matthiessen/for Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim Irrigation Festival sets royalty court for 2024

Goettling is pageant’s pick to reign

SEQUIM — Ariya Goettling is the 129th Sequim Irrigation Festival queen.

She was crowned on Feb. 24 on the Sequim High School auditorium stage by outgoing queen Pepper Reymond following a program that organizers said was the first event of the Irrigation Festival season.

The pageant featured four candidates for queen and princesses — Goettling, Ashlynn Northaven, Sophia Treece and Kailah Blake — each judged in prior interviews, impromptu stage questions, a creative display and modeling of evening attire.

The royal court members said they look forward to a full year of attending events and community service and scholarships for the study path of their choice when they graduate high school.

The Sequim Irrigation Festival will be May 3-11.

The kickoff dinner and float rollout will be this coming Saturday.

Goettling, sponsored by Bibity Bobity — A Kid’s Place, is an animal lover who chose the Clallam County Humane Society as her platform.

She said she would like to get a business degree and have a business based in the beauty industry.

For her creative display, she showed her landscapes depicting Greece, a place she longs to visit, and Sequim, about which she said, “Although I want to wander the world, Sequim will ever be my anchor and my home.”

Later, Goettling said her goal is to visit as many countries as possible in her lifetime.

Blake, who plans to get a degree in graphic design, was bestowed the title and sash of “Miss Congeniality” by the previous year’s holder, princess Anne Marie Barni. Master of ceremonies Guy Horton and Barni agreed that this is a high honor because it was decided by a vote among the competitors for queen.

In response to an on-stage question, incoming Princess Northaven said she is hard working and will accomplish her goals, “even if it takes a long time,” and demonstrated her recipe for banana pudding parfait while using it as a metaphor for her plans for attending culinary school in the future.

Princess Treece, who said she loves to act, performed a comedic monologue about dog sitting. Her act inspired laughter from the audience of community members, visiting royalty, past participants and festival dignitaries, including Irrigation Festival button designer Camila Torres, a fourth-grade student at Helen Haller Elementary.

Torres said she created her piece using colored pencils and markers and that she’s “glad that they are using it.”

Junior royalty

Junior royalty Bennett Castell, Olive Gockerell, Dulce Villegas and Ruby Sly-Hobson were also crowned by outgoing royalty after reading essays following the 129th’s theme, “2024 Mountains to Shore Whatever You’re Looking For.”

Pearle Peterson, known for singing the National Anthem at Game 2 of the World Series in 2023, opened the pageant with the National Anthem and also performed a comedic song.

Past royalty, including Prince Fred Cameron and Princess Skylar Krzyworz, also performed a comedic song and dance about being the best royals.

The audience and participants joined together for a celebration in the cafeteria after festival photographer Keith Ross took photographs of the new court.

Leaving the auditorium to begin her year of queenly responsibilities, Goettling said, “I’m very excited. I was not expecting it at all, but I’m very grateful to represent my community.”

For more about the Sequim Irrigation Festival, visit irrigationfestival.com.

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Emily Matthiessen is freelance writer and photographer living in Sequim.

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