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7 seek Almond Blossom 2014 title
Winner reigns over festival taking place Feb. 23-24
Miss Almond Blossom 2013 Anna Fassler is pictured with candidates for the crown at the February Almond Blossom Queen title and that of Miss Ripon. All seven girls appeared at the Ripon Chamber of Commerce office with their parents Saturday morning at 9 to sign their contracts of intention to become an official candidate. They are from left, front Krista Tyhurst, Jessica Carmona, and Kaitlyn Bradley; back row, Kaylie Sheaffer, Desiree Ormonde, Francesca Arnaudo and Alyssa Sikkema. - photo by Photo Contributed

It’s official and the contracts are signed.

 There are seven Ripon and Ripon Christian high school girls who are vying for the Miss Almond Blossom crown at the upcoming Almond Blossom Festival. They gathered at the Ripon Chamber of Commerce office at 9 a.m. Saturday for more than an hour with their parents as their audience.

Queen Bee Debra Emig of the Ripon Soroptimists will once again be directing the girls through their many activities over the next two months.

Saturday the chamber officials spelled out their responsibilities in being candidates, letting them know what is being expected of them once they are in the public eye.  They all arrived well dressed and obviously pleased that they were chosen to compete.  

Reigning Miss Ripon, Anna Fassler, met with candidates Kaylie Sheaffer, Desiree Ormonde, Francesca Arnaudo, Alyssa Sikkema, Krista Tyhurst, Jessica Carmona and Kaitlyn Bradley.  Sikkema, 16, is the only candidate from Ripon Christian High School.

The girls were introduced to a group of parents who crowded into the chamber office to hear what was being required of their daughters when they appear in public reflecting character and personality.

The official Almond Blossom Festival Kick-off Dinner will showcase the candidates on Jan. 9 at the Spring Creek Golf and Country Club with a 6 p.m. no host bar with dinner at 7.  This year’s festival will be honoring The Ripon Grange and Our Growers hoping to return to the origins of the festival.

Chamber Executive Director Tamra Spade said, “It is important to the chamber not to lose sight of the history of the Almond Blossom Festival and bring back what Ripon represents.”

The candidates will undergo “etiquette training” on Jan. 4 under the direction of the Ripon Soroptimist Club.  The girls will once again be selling festival tickets with a percentage of their individual sales reflecting on the final selection of the queen. On Jan. 9 they will be interviewed by festival judges at Spring Creek Country Club.

The Ripon Rotary Club will host the young women at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

Then, on Jan. 30, they will compose essays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Ripon High School Library that will be judged as part of their competition before they take part in a fashion show dress fitting days later.

Lunch with the Soroptimist Club is scheduled for all the candidates on Feb. 5 followed by a rehearsal for the Almond Blossom Fashion Show at 6 p.m. in the Ripon High School Cafeteria.  The fashion show is set for 6:30 p.m. the next day in the cafeteria.

The last day for their ticket sales has been set for Feb. 12, about a week prior to the coronation of Miss Almond Blossom at 7 p.m., Feb. 20, following the popular Lions Club Spaghetti Dinner both at the Ripon Community Center.

Escorts are scheduled to meet with the queen and members of the court for four and five hour sessions Feb. 21 and 22 prior to the parade.

The new queen and her entourage will be hosted to a special luncheon the next day by the Soroptimist Club. 

The new 2014 Almond Blossom Queen and her court of six will be the focal point of the Almond Blossom Parade at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23.