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Almond Blossom queen crowning Feb. 24
almond honors
Studies show the richness of almond pollen boosts the health of bees. Photo Courtesy Almond Board Of California

The crowning of an Almond Blossom Festival queen is a long-standing tradition in Ripon.

Fifteen girls – all are juniors at Ripon High or Ripon Christian High – are looking to take center stage during the coronation event scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 24, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Ripon Community Center, 334 Fourth St.

“The queen will reign as Miss Almond Blossom throughout the weekend of the festival, after which time she become Miss Ripon for one year,” said Ripon Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Kelly Donohue.

Each of the princesses were judged on their participation in four activities – personal interview with a panel of judges, a speech given at last month’s kick-off ceremony, a timed essay, and their performance at the fashion show.

Among the hopefuls are:

Ines Rodriguez

“I’m so excited to be an Almond Blossom princess because I get a chance to represent this great community I call home,” she said in her bio provided by the Ripon Chamber of Commerce.

Rodriguez attends Ripon High, where she plays soccer for the Indians – her team went 10-0 this year in the Trans-Valley League play while reaching the post season.

“I’ve been playing competitive soccer since I was 9,” she added.

Rodriguez, in addition, enjoys baking and trying new things.

Paris Ferrill

She hopes to be a professional ballerina one day.

Ferrill is a dancer and enjoys gardening, in particular, growing succulents.

“My whole house, front and back yard, are full of home-grown succulent plants that I care for greatly” she said.

Ferrill attends Ripon Christian High.

Jade Diaz

Diaz, who attends Ripon High, enjoys playing basketball and wrestling.

She took first place in her weight class (126 pounds) for the Indians at the recent TVL tournament while her team captured the league championships in Los Banos. Her team claimed the league crown in the process.

“I’ve tried many sports such as hockey, soccer, volleyball and cheer,” Diaz said.

As for running for Almond Blossom Queen / Miss Ripon, she noted: “This may be the biggest thing I’ve ever done.

Here’s the 2022 Almond Blossom Festival scheduled events:

·         Feb. 24-27 – Vendor Fair and Carnival at Mistlin Sports Park.

·         Feb. 24, Thursday – Bake Off, 7-10 a.m., Ripon Community Center; Lion’s Club Spaghetti Dinner (Ripon Community Center), 4:30-7 p.m.; Miss Almond Blossom Coronation (Ripon Community Center), 7 p.m.

·         Feb. 25, Friday – Community Stage live music “Teen Night” featuring bands from GK Music School, 5-8 p.m.; Quarterback Club Golf Tournament at La Contenta Golf Club, Valley Springs.

·         Feb. 26, Saturday – Ripon Grange Pancake Breakfast, Ripon Grange Hall, 6-10 a.m.; Almond Blossom Festival Fun Run, featuring 8K or 1-mile races, Mavis Stouffer Park (shirt, medal and goodie bag for participants), 8:30 a.m. (one mile), 9 a.m. (8K); Immanuel CRC Bake Sale (9 a.m.-2 p.m.) and Lunch (11 a.m.-2 p.m.); Diaper Derby, Ripon High North Gym, 10 a.m.; Community Stage Live Music (Mistlin Sports Park), noon-8 p.m.; Almond Blossom Festival Parade at 1 p.m. (downtown Ripon, starting at Stockton Avenue); Quarterback Club Brats and Drinks, Ripon Community Center, 1 p.m.-7 p.m.