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Conway among 6 Almond Blossom hopefuls
Samantha Conway - photo by Photo Contributed


• WHAT: 49th annual Ripon Almond Blossom Festival Feb. 24-27
• 1ST EVENT: Almond Blossom Kick-Off Dinner
• WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 13, 6 p.m.
• WHERE: Spring Creek Golf & Country Club
• MORE INFO: Call the Ripon Chamber of Commerce at 599-7519

RIPON – Samantha Conway has always looked up to the Almond Blossom Festival queens.

Now she hopes to wear the same crown with distinction and honor.

Conway – a Ripon High School senior – is one of six candidates currently vying for the title of Miss Almond Blossom in the annual Almond Queen Court held by the Ripon Chamber of Commerce and the Ripon Soroptimists.

The daughter of Tom and Leisa Conway, Samantha hopes to make the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime experience and plans on putting her all into the competition.

“I had a best friend that did it last year and I thought it looked like a lot of fun,” said Conway on why she decided to get involved. “I always looked up to the other queens like Camila (Sweaney) and Joie (Darretta), and I thought it would be something I would be interested in.”

The 17-year-old Conway has plans to attend California State University, Monterey Bay and is relying on her long list of after-school activities – like being the Girls’ League President for 2010-2011, the Buddy Club President for 2010-2011, the Vice-President of Peer Helpers for 2010-2011 and a member of the California Scholarship Federation, Block R and the Link Crew – to help fill her application.

When she isn’t busy tackling her many school-related duties, Conway also volunteers in a third grade class and serves as the assistant softball coach at Weston elementary school, and has been named all-TVL in girls’ golf for the last three seasons.

But for the time being, she’s focused on making sure she does what’s needed for the Almond Blossom Queen court – be it selling raffle tickets or making sure that she has her etiquette lessons down pat.

“I have fun just getting together and meeting all of the other girls – getting to know them better,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons that I got involved with this. Hopefully I can make some lasting friendships and some memories that I can take with me.”

When it comes to the Almond Blossom Festival, Conway says that she likes the carnival and the parade, and enjoys calling Ripon home because of the small-town feel that is exemplified during the annual festival.

“I’ve lived in a lot of cities but Ripon is my favorite because it has that small-town feel where everybody knows everybody,” she said. “You can really see it during the Almond Blossom Festival. That’s what makes it so special.”