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Almond festival dinner Jan. 8
Winemakers being honored during 2015 event
Ripon is gearing up for its annual Almond Blossom Festival. - photo by Bulletin file photo

The 2015 Ripon Almond Blossom Festival kick-off dinner has been set for Thursday, Jan. 8, at Spring Creek Golf and Country Club.

This year’s event is being dedicated to wine growers and vintners in the area with special recognition to the three Ripon wineries:  McManis, Lucca and the Wine Group, formerly Franzia Winery. Lucca is a new winery on River Road that has already experienced business growth.                                                                                                                                          Almond Festival Queen Bee Lauren Bitters will present the almond Blossom Queen candidates  following her introduction by Ripon Chamber of Commerce President John Mangelos.  The dinner is one of many appearances the candidates have scheduled in the near future including the Ripon Rotary and the Ripon Soroptimist Club.  The candidates will be canvassing the community selling tickets in their bid to secure the crown.  Each must sell a minimum of 1,000 tickets.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tamra Spade said she is expecting some 250 guests at the event with tickets set at $35 each.  She added that the chamber is searching for the oldest grape grower in the community to serve as the parade’s grand marshal.

Social hour is set for 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. with the suggested attire being semi-formal.

The festival is set for the third weekend in February — the 20th through the 22nd.