Sequim Irrigation Festival royalty, from left, Princess Ashlynn Northaven, Princess Kailah Blake, Princess Sophia Treece and Queen Ariya Goettling stand with their new float that they’ll ride on for 14 parades this year. It was shown to them for the first time on Saturday at 7 Cedars Casino. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim Irrigation Festival royalty, from left, Princess Ashlynn Northaven, Princess Kailah Blake, Princess Sophia Treece and Queen Ariya Goettling stand with their new float that they’ll ride on for 14 parades this year. It was shown to them for the first time on Saturday at 7 Cedars Casino. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Irrigation Festival royalty, crowd find fun in float

Annual kickoff dinner ushers in 129th year for event

SEQUIM — Sequim Irrigation Festival organizers continued their tradition of surprising their royalty with the reveal of the float for the year’s parade season.

Queen Ariya Goettling and princesses Kailah Blake, Ashlynn Northaven and Sophia Treece stood with their backs to the float as it drove underneath the carport of 7 Cedars Casino on Saturday.

A large crowd from the festival’s Kickoff Dinner and Auction, scheduled for after the unveiling, cheered as the girls smiled and shared looks of awe.

The float is largely based on this year’s logo by Sherry Scharschmidt, with mountains and birds above and water, boats, orcas and more below.

This year’s slogan is “2024 Mountains to Shore, Whatever You’re Looking For.”

Festival Executive Director Vickie Maples said organizers opted to send the float for construction to a firm and it returned with a lot of work to do, so former designer Guy Horton returned to complete a design by his wife Lynn.

“This was our biggest team ever,” Guy Horton said.

“We needed to come together and we nailed it. It was a lot of fun.”

He worked the last three weeks with Lynn, John Riley, Chris Overen, Daniel Goettling, Chad Williams, Justin Witherow, Carlos Jackson, Christina DeMatteis and Anne Marie Barni to finish the float in time for the unveiling.

Asked about their favorite parts, Ariya Goettling said “the fact that my family got to help with it and the design is so cool.”

Northaven said she liked the orcas, and Treece liked them too along with the float’s little boats, while Blake said she appreciated the flowers and moss.

Horton said crews continue to work on the float to add motorized movement to some pieces, more orcas, pebble tiles and more.

“Make sure to come to the (Grand Parade at noon on May 11) to see the finishing touches,” Horton said. “It sparkles in the sun.”

The royalty and float are scheduled to appear in 14 parades, including the Tacoma Daffodil Parade on April 6.

Festival organizers said they’re looking for float builders next year with construction and design experience. Those interested can email info@irrigationfestival.com.

The Kickoff Dinner and Auction is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the all-volunteer festival. Its festivities for the 129th year run May 3-11.

The Sequim Irrigation Festival remains the longest continuous running festival in Washington state. For more information, visit irrigationfestival.com.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of newspapers Peninsula News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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