Irrigation Festival ends in Grand fashion — parade winners listed

SEQUIM — The city wrapped up its annual salute to 19th century irrigation Saturday as thousands of people converged on the North Olympic Peninsula for what’s considered to be the longest-running community festival in the state.

Washington Street — which is often bumper-to-bumper these days — was host to a different kind of slow-moving traffic starting at 11 a.m., as a parade of classic and antique cars took over the road.

After the cars came the Grand Parade, which had everything a festival parade should and then some –floats, marching bands, community leaders, pageant royalty and even logging trucks and heavy equipment.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and other veterans organizations had a strong showing, and elicited a strong response.

Two of the most popular parade entries, though, were as unconventional as they were entertaining — the Motorcycle Drill Team of Tenino, which led the parade, and the crack South Hill Weed Wackers, who marched in formation with lawnmowers, leaf blowers and other yard implements.

Parade route lengthened

The parade followed an extended route this year, going an additional two blocks down Washington Street to Seventh Avenue.

While parade organizers said at one point that the extension posed logistical difficulties, Saturday’s parade flowed smoothly.

The Irrigation Festival began as a May Day observance that coincided with the May 1, 1896, opening of an irrigation ditch that brought water from the Dungeness River to what was then a dry Sequim Prairie.

The irrigation system that grew from that first ditch spurred agriculture in the region and is still used today for both farms and residential property.

Parade winners

Here are the winners of Saturday’s 2005 Irrigation Festival Grand Parade:

* Grand Sweepstakes: Marysville Strawberry Festival.

* President’s Award: Tacoma Daffodil Festival.

* Governor’s Award: Clallam County Fair.

* Mayor’s Award: Capital Lake Fair.

* Chairman’s Award: Cowichan Lake Community Float.

Judge’s Special Awards

* First: McCleary Bear Festival.

* Second: Forks Old-Fashioned Fourth of July.

* Third: Family of Freemasonry.

* Fourth: Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival.

Commercial

* First: Sequim Lavender Growers.

* Second: Bekkevar.

* Third: Sherwood Assisted Living.

Non-commercial

* First: Newcomers Club.

* Second: Sequim Prairie Garden Club.

* Third: Montessori.

Community Drill Teams

* First: Miss Dangerettes of Seattle.

* Second: Hood Canal Drill Team.

* Third: Wal-Mart Drill Team.

Results from the judging of marching bands and high school drill teams were not available Saturday.

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