By Jeff Chew
Peninsula Daily News
SEQUIM — Seven contestants will vie Saturday for the Sequim Irrigation Festival’s royal court.
The coronation of the queen and three princesses — the royal court for the 117th festival — will be at 7 p.m.
at the Sequim High School auditorium at 601 N. Sequim Ave.
The oldest continuing event in the state, the Irrigation Festival will run from May 4-13 at various locations around Sequim, including the Grand Parade.
Cindy Bacon, in her final year as festival pageant chairwoman after 13 years, said royalty selection is one of the first activities to take place as the Irrigation Festival begins to gear up for the first week in May.
“The girls have been working hard, and their speeches are great,” Bacon said.
Each participant will wear a ball gown, demonstrate a talent, answer impromptu questions and give a speech.
The contestants, all Sequim High School students, for the 2012 Royalty Pageant are:
■ Abigail Berry, a junior. Her parents are Dr. J. Allen and Judy Berry. She is sponsored by Solar City’s Tesa Boutique & Tanning Retreat.
■ Courtney Cassal, a junior. Her parents are Kevin and Robin Cassal. She is sponsored by Vern Fonk Insurance.
■ Amanda Dronenburg, a junior. Her parents are Robert and Charity Dronenburg. She is sponsored by Inspired Creations.
■ Arianna Flores, a junior. Her parents are Arturo and Linda Flores. She is sponsored by Graysmarsh Farm Inc.
■ Chyrell Jones, a senior. Her grandmother is Patti Bowery. She is sponsored by Pantry and Latch.
■ Natalie Stevenson, a junior. Her parents are Craig and Rebecca Stevenson. She is sponsored by Jose’s Famous Salsa.
■ Bailey Thomas, a junior. Her parents are Eric and Kim Thomas. She is sponsored by The Lodge at Sherwood Village.
The queen will receive a scholarship of $1,000.
Each princess will be given a $750 scholarship.
They also will receive travel and float wardrobes, parade travel expenses and speech and poise training.
The festival theme this year is “117 & Still Growin’ Green.”
The new float will be officially rolled out at 5 p.m. March 24 at the Irrigation Festival Kickoff Dinner and Auction.
The event takes place in the Club Seven Lounge at 7 Cedars Casino in Blyn.
The major fundraising event benefits the festival and the first official introduction of the 2011 royalty, pioneers and parade grand marshal.
The royalty court is one of the most visible parts of the Sequim Irrigation Festival.
It makes appearances around town to represent the Irrigation Festival, travels with the float around Western Washington to other community parades and also performs community service in the area.
The Saturday pageant, Bacon said, “is an opportunity to see and listen to these intelligent and involved high school students as they vie to become part of this year’s festival royalty.”
Clallam Co-op Farm and Garden is the sponsor of the pageant.
Tickets are $5 and are on sale at Solar City’s Tesa Boutique & Tanning Retreat, 135 W. Washington St.; Pacific Mist Books, 121 W. Washington St.; Kitsap Bank, 1320 W. Washington St.; and Clallam Co-op, 216 E. Washington St.
For more information, visit www.irrigationfestival.com.
________Sequim-Dungeness Valley Reporter Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at email@example.com.