<strong>Keith Ross</strong>/Keith’s Frame of Mind                                This year’s contestants for the Irrigation Festival Royalty court include, from left, Kjirstin Foresman, Emily Silva, Brianna Cowan, Shelby Wells, Erin Rosengren and Ana Benitez.                                This year’s contestants for the Irrigation Festival Royalty court include, from left, Kjirstin Foresman, Emily Silva, Brianna Cowan, Shelby Wells, Erin Rosengren and Ana Benitez. (Keith Ross /Keith’s Frame of Mind)

Keith Ross/Keith’s Frame of Mind This year’s contestants for the Irrigation Festival Royalty court include, from left, Kjirstin Foresman, Emily Silva, Brianna Cowan, Shelby Wells, Erin Rosengren and Ana Benitez. This year’s contestants for the Irrigation Festival Royalty court include, from left, Kjirstin Foresman, Emily Silva, Brianna Cowan, Shelby Wells, Erin Rosengren and Ana Benitez. (Keith Ross /Keith’s Frame of Mind)

Six set for 124th Irrigation Festival pageant Saturday

SEQUIM — Six students will compete for four spots in the 124th Sequim Irrigation Festival’s royal court at 6 p.m. Saturday.

The annual Royalty Pageant for the May 3-12 festival which this year has the theme of “There’s no Place like Home” will be at Sequim High School’s auditorium at 601 N. Sequim Ave.

Tickets will be available at the door for $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Advance tickets are available at Sound Community Bank in Sequim and Sequim First Federal branches.

This year’s contestants are Ana Benitez, sponsored by YMCA of the Olympic Peninsula; Brianna Cowan, sponsored by Sanford Irrigation; Kjirstin Foresman, sponsored by Blue Sky Property Management; Erin Rosengren, sponsored by Sunny Farms Country Store; Emily Silva, sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County; and Shelby Wells, sponsored by Sound Community Bank.

At the pageant, they will present creative displays and answer impromptu questions to win a chance to represent Sequim in festivals and events for a year.

This year’s queen will receive a $1,250 college scholarship and each princess $750 in scholarships.

Guy Horton and former festival queen Karla Najera host the pageant.

Here is a little about each contestant.

• Benitez has attended Sequim schools for eight years. She opted to take geometry in a semester so she could take calculus as a senior, setting her up to pursue the engineering field.

She enjoys a number of sports including lacrosse, swimming and skiing. She also enjoys cooking with her mom, especially her family recipe for tamales at Christmas.

Her favorite place to visit in Sequim is Rainshadow Coffee.

For her creative display, she will show and discuss how she made a pair of pants. If chosen for court, her platform will focus on family health, likely through the YMCA.

• Cowan, who was born and raised in Sequim, is an honor students and on the Sequim High School cheer squad.

Cowan, who has Type 1 diabetes, said that volunteering the past two summers at Camp Leo helping younger children with Type 1 diabetes has helped her discover her passion for helping others. After high school, she plans to attend Seattle Pacific University to become a nurse practitioner specializing in pediatric endocrinology.

In Sequim, she loves going to beaches — particularly with her dog, Ginger.

For her creative display, she will teach a cheer.

If chosen for the court, Cowan wants to support Beyond Type 1, an organization that empowers other Type 1 diabetics to have strength, courage and support.

• Foresman moved to Sequim five years ago from Bellingham and said she appreciates the area’s uniqueness.

She takes pride in being a Sequim High School band officer and playing snare for the marching band and percussion for the band ensemble. For the pageant, she plans to play music on the xylophone.

After graduation, she wants to attend the University of Washington to pursue a major in biochemistry.

Her favorite place to visit in town is Sequim Spice & Tea; she particularly likes their peppermint tea.

Foresman said that if she’s selected for the royalty court she’s chosen to help foster children on the North Olympic Peninsula as her platform.

She was recently taken in by a family she loves to call her own and said she knows it’s a difficult and stressful time for children in foster cases. She said she wishes to spread awareness of foster children around the Peninsula.

• Rosengren moved to Sequim five years ago from El Paso, Texas, for better weather to help with her dad’s health. She finds family to be very important with her pioneer stock father and Native American mother and two brothers, sister and brother-in-law, and 5-month-old nephew.

She loves to travel and has gone across the Western U.S., Canada and Japan where she was an exchange student her freshman year. She plans to attend college to study general or special education.

She said she enjoys attending the Irrigation Festival carnival and the lavender farms — specifically for lavender ice cream and lavender lemonade.

For her creative display, she plans to share a Native dance she learned from her mother. If selected, her platform will support autism awareness because she and two of her siblings have autism.

• Silva has lived in Sequim her whole life and currently attends Sequim High School. She’s proud of her accomplishments of being recognized in the National Honor Society and running varsity for Sequim’s cross-country squad.

She also enjoys spending time with her family and cat, Pebbles.

Silva hopes to attend Gonzaga University to study business and marketing.

In Sequim, she enjoys taking walks on Port Williams.

For the pageant, she plans to present about running for her creative display. If she’s selected to be a royal, she hopes to bring awareness to breast cancer research because she lost her grandmother before she was born to the disease. Her aunt also was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer.

• Wells was born and raised in Sequim, and said there’s no place she’d rather call home.

She enjoys English class and writing, as well as athletics and continues to play softball.

After high school, she plans to attend Peninsula College to pursue her dreams of working in the medical field.

Her favorite place to visit in Sequim is Bell Hill for its view, especially at night.

For the pageant, Wells plans to play an acoustic guitar and sing. If selected to the court, she plans to support the Welfare for Animals Guild in some capacity because she appreciates their efforts to save local dogs.

For more about the upcoming festival, see www.irrigationfestival.com.

________

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 mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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