By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ripon goes nuts over Almond Blossom fashion show
Karen Messner helps with the raffle at intermission. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• WHAT: 47TH annual Almond Blossom Festival
• WHEN: Feb. 27, 28 & March 1
• WHERE: Mistlin Park in Ripon
• MORE INFO: Go to or call 599-7519

RIPON – It didn’t matter whether Zach Pratt was on a runway in Paris or making a trip down the walkway inside of Ripon High’s multipurpose room.

Either way he was going to give it everything he had.

Thursday night, Pratt was one of more than a dozen participants in the Soroptimist International of Ripon Almond Blossom Fashion Show – an institution that has spanned more than a decade and become part of the fabric of the nearly month-long celebration of all things almond.

While the seven Almond Queen candidates – Michelle Ambrose, Kate Balatore, Kamie Goforth, Courtney Netjes, Alexsandra Peralta, Kimberly Stegner, and Camila Sweaney – all made their walk past the judges modeling off clothes from Grace and Daniel inside of Modesto’s McHenry Village, a handful of residents also strutted their stuff in clothes that ranged from designer jeans to Italian-made dress wear.

“What’s great about this is that it’s become another event in the Almond Blossom Festival,” said event co-chair Shirley Jorgensen.

“Everybody comes out to support the queen contestants and those brave enough to model, and it really makes for a good event.”

Sponsoring models this year were Kenneth’s Fine Menswear in Modesto, Tractor Supply Co. in Ripon, Kindergarten Boutique in Ripon, and Fashion Bug and Kohl’s from Manteca.

Besides the queen contestants, Pratt was joined on the runway by Laurel Rourick, Kim and Michael Solano, Eli and Nathan Day, Kim, Keith, and Braydon Haines, and Yolonda, Miranda, and Madison O’Brien.

According to Soroptimist Debbie Marlow who enjoyed the show from the seats, part of the draw that has helped make the event a hit every year is the fact that it promotes a fun family atmosphere where people can just enjoy themselves.

“It’s a great night of entertainment for not very much money, and you get the chance to see people right here from your community participating and having a good time,” Marlow said. “It’s also become another part of the Almond Blossom Festival, and I think that people enjoy socializing when it comes to things like this.”