Naomi Wilbur was crowned Miss Ripon / Almond Blossom Festival Queen for 2021.
The selection of the Ripon High junior was announced via livestream on Thursday by Ripon Chamber of Commerce President / CEO Kelly Donohue. Wilbur, who is the RHS Junior Class President, had the nod over first runner-up Kalani Kahandawala based on her efforts in the interview, speech competition, fashion show, ticket sales for the annual raffle, and blind essay — no name was attached to the written part for the judges to read. according to Donohue.
She praised all involved in the 59th annual Miss Ripon / Almond Blossom Festival Queen Competition and the challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"All of the (queen) candidates did a spectacular job," Donohue said. "I hope we had a lot fun."
For Abigail Laswell, her reign as 2020 Miss Ripon / Almond Blossom Festival Queen was a memorable experience. "It was surreal and much different from the previous years," she said.
Still, Laswell enjoyed every minute of this past year as Miss Ripon and was on hand for the opening of the Butterfly Garden at Mavis Stouffer Park.
Besides Wilbur as the new queen and Kahandawala as runner-up, Riley Rangel was voted Miss Congeniality by her fellow queen candidates and Emma Phelps was announced as top ticket seller for the raffle with about 2,000 sold.
Rounding out the 2021 royal court were Abigail Thompson, Gabrielle Martin, Jaedyn Hendryx, Rylie Kackley, Katelyn Cardoza and Brenda Vega.