Sequim Irrigation Festival organizers say they plan to extend Family Fun Days again to two days, May 4-5, and include free events, such as Strait Up Foam Fun in Carrie Blake Community Park. A schedule is to be determined, organizers said. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim Irrigation Festival organizers say they plan to extend Family Fun Days again to two days, May 4-5, and include free events, such as Strait Up Foam Fun in Carrie Blake Community Park. A schedule is to be determined, organizers said. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Irrigation Festival's carnival on hold for another year

Organizers extend free Family Fun Days another year

SEQUIM — As the Sequim Irrigation Festival approaches its 129th year in May, organizers say they’re expanding the Family Fun Day once again to two days of free events to offset the continued unavailability of a carnival.

Organizers made the announcement last week via the festival’s Facebook page: “After an extensive search and reaching out to several carnivals, we were unsuccessful locating a company that is able to return to Sequim.

“Unfortunately, they are still feeling the staffing effects from COVID’s impact on their businesses.”

The carnival was a popular attraction for locals through 2019, and an important money-maker for the festival’s operations.

Festival executive director Vickie Maples said it was typically the second biggest fundraiser for the festival after its annual Kickoff Dinner and Auction — slated for 5 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at 7 Cedars Casino, with the royalty float unveiling at 4:45 p.m.

Maples said organizers made the carnival announcement because a permit in the City of Sequim is required 60 days before an event, and they were nearing that date without any positive responses from vendors.

Volunteer Stephen Rosales said they’ve continued to seek out a carnival since the pandemic but he’s been continually told they don’t have enough crew and costs have gone up for them to add extra

“A lot of them have had to cut back,” he said. “It’s a post-COVID world.”

Rosales said he’s called several West Coast vendors and tried going through fair associations’ contacts with no luck.

“We can’t get one,” he said. “The carnival was a main attraction, and people used to go from the parade to the carnival.”

Maples said they’re not sure how much tickets and unlimited rides would cost for a carnival vendor compared to 2019’s prices, but organizers wanted to keep festivities at Family Fun Days free.

She said if an opportunity does come up for a carnival vendor, they’ll investigate it. She also encourages people with potential contacts to contact the festival through its website at irrigationfestival.com.

Festival support

Maples estimates the carnival brought in about $20,000 a year, and with those revenues not coming in, board members had to use reserves to help with operations the last four years.

The all-volunteer, nonprofit festival did receive some local relief via local grants that helped, she said.

Organizers said sponsorships also have helped, and they’ve reached out to new companies and those who have not sponsored the festival for awhile.

Maples said the most immediate way to support the festival is to have more people bid on items at the Kickoff Auction either in person or online at kickoff2024.givesmart.com.

“It has fantastic experiences and items, and they’re coming in larger than before,” she said.

Family Fun Days

With no carnival, festival organizers extended the Family Fun Days again to two days, Saturday and Sunday May 4-5, in Carrie Blake Community Park for the first weekend of the festival, also called Crazy Callen Weekend.

It will feature the return of free laser tag, Strait Up Foam Fun, crafts, games and more. The weekend’s schedule is to be determined.

For more on the Sequim Irrigation Festival, Washington state’s longest running festival, 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 matthew.nash@sequimgazette.com.

More in News

Dave Swinford of Sequim, left, and Marlana Ashlie of Victoria take part in a workshop on Saturday about cropping bird photos for best presentation during Saturday’s Olympic Birdfest. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)
Bird spotting

Dave Swinford of Sequim, left, and Marlana Ashlie of Victoria take part… Continue reading

Annette Nesse, at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s main campus in Blyn in December 2021, is serving as interim director at the Dungeness River Nature Center, the organization announced. (Emily Matthiessen/for Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Nesse to serve as interim director at River Center

New position to begin May 1; organization will continue its full-time search

Sequim Wheelers, seen on the historic Railroad Bridge near the Dungeness River Nature Center, prep for a ride on the Olympic Discovery Trail. The nonprofit's season begins in May, and it has an open house for potential new volunteers on April 20 at the River Center. It also has an orientation for new volunteers on April 25 at the River Center. (Sequim Wheelers)
Sequim Wheelers gearing up for 2024 rides, seek recruits

Nonprofit looking for help during for 20-week season

Ashlynn Emiliani of Port Angeles, center, tosses woody debris into a pile for collection as volunteers work to clean up a section of hillside above the parking lot of the Red Lion Hotel in Port Angeles on Saturday. More than a dozen members of Elevate PA spent the morning clearing up overgrown areas on the hillside from Haynes Viewpoint to the hotel’s Front Street driveway as part of a city beautification effort. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)
Hillside cleanup in Port Angeles

Ashlynn Emiliani of Port Angeles, center, tosses woody debris into a pile… Continue reading

Weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be field carrier landing practice operations for aircraft… Continue reading

Operations set at Bentinck range

The Royal Canadian Navy has announced that the land-based… Continue reading

Pictured, from left, are Wolfe, May, Reader and Emily Fry.
May recognized with BEE award from medical center

Reuben May has received a BEE award from Olympic Medical Center. The… Continue reading

Schools open following contract

PAPEA, district reach tentative agreement

Port Angeles School Superintendent Marty Brewer, second from right, speaks with members of the Port Angeles Parents for Education, on Friday about the Port Angeles Paraeducation Association strike. Assistant Superintendent Michele Olsen stands at right. (Paula Hunt/Peninsula News)
District, PAPEA to pick up bargaining Sunday

Parent group presses officials for answers on strike

Instructor Josh Taylor, left, points out the workings of an electric vehicle on Wednesday at the Auto Technology Certification Program at Peninsula College. Nick Schommer, center, and Brian Selk get ready to do some testing on the electric auto’s parts from underneath the vehicle. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula News)
College's automotive technology program gets a reboot

Students can earn a certificate separate from two-year degree

Port Townsend transportation tax dollars to be put to work

Benefits district to raise $400,000 to $600,000 in first year