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Almond Blossom queen hopefuls model in fashion show on Feb. 9
The Almond Blossom Fashion Show typically packs the Ripon High Multi room. - photo by Bulletin file photo

RIPON – Forget New York Fashion Week.

On Thursday, Feb. 9, the Almond Blossom Queens of past and present will convert the Ripon High School multipurpose room into ground zero for the world of style – modeling off the latest looks in an event that has spanned more than four decades as part of the community’s largest annual event.

The annual Soroptimist Almond Blossom Fashion Show is nearly here.

While Ripon’s current almond queen candidates – Lauren Westra, Taylor Clarke, Lauren Hogan, Jenavieve Kisst, Michaela Dole, Jessica Apfel, Ashley Bloemhof, Bailey Taberna and Graelyn Pope – will be the focal point of the event, past queens have also been tapped to model off clothing to keep with the history of the 50th anniversary of the annual Almond Blossom Festival.

The family of Grand Marshal Francis “Bud” Bodeson will also be prominently featured during the two-hour-long event that routinely fills up the multipurpose room with more than 350 members of the community.

In the eyes of Debra Emig of Soroptimsts International of Ripon – one of the advisors in the annual Almond Queen Court – the event is a chance for both the community to come together and the girls participating to have fun in one of their graded categories.

“It’s the event that the girls are judged on that they actually get to have a lot of fun being a part of,” Emig said. “Plus the event utilizes models that tie in to the event of that year and we’re going to have the Bodeson family and past queen winners – it’ll add something a little extra to the whole experience.”

Money raised from the event, Emig said, will go to the cash prizes that are awarded to the victors – $1,000 to the 2012 Almond Blossom Queen and $500 to the runner-up.

The organization will donate $750 back to the Chamber of Commerce.

Local businesses from around Ripon have traditionally been tapped to provide the clothing that models show off on the runway. Stores like Blush Boutique in Ripon, Bedazzled Boutique in Escalon and Dress Barn in Manteca have confirmed that they’ll be a part of the event this year. Traditional clothiers like Vito’s in Modesto will also participate while Ripon’s Friends Salon will provide their services.

Burgess Bakery will be providing the desserts.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at the Ripon Chamber of Commerce – located at 929 W. Main Street – or from any Ripon Soroptimist member.