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Almond festival important to families, Ripon
Desirey Ormonde delivers her speech during the Almond Blossom Festival kick-off dinner at the Spring Creek Country Club. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• WHAT: 52nd annual Almond Blossom Festival
• WHEN: Feb. 21-23
• WHERE: Ripon’s Mistlin Sports Park
• INFO: For information or applications for the parade, Almond Blossom Fun Run or to be a vendor go to the Ripon Chamber of Commerce site at You can also drop by the chamber office at 929 W. Main St., Ripon, or call 599-7519 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Desirey Ormonde isn’t as old as the other Ripon Almond Blossom Queen candidates.

She’s only a junior at Ripon High School.

But that doesn’t mean that Ormonde – who grew up in Ripon – doesn’t realize how important the Almond Blossom Festival, now in its 52nd year, is to the community. That’s because it’s important to her and it’s important to her family and she can see the smiles on the faces of the people out enjoying the benefits of a small community.

She also realizes the role of Miss Ripon and what that position means for the community.

“The Almond Blossom Festival is a chance for our entire small town to come out together and enjoy ourselves,” Ormonde said. “And being an Almond Blossom Queen candidate is a chance to be a role model for the young girls and give them somebody that they can look up to.

“It’s important to have that, and it’s important to recognize that.”

Desirey – the daughter of Ed and Kristie Ormonde – plans on attending San Diego State University once she graduates from Ripon High School next year. She hopes to study interior design with a minor in photography. She hopes one day to put her entrepreneurial skills to work by opening her own small business.

And she sees what this process can do for her.

Building relationships with the other participants – Kaitlyn Bradley, Francesca Arnaudo, Kaylie Schaeffer, Jessica Carmona, Alyssa Sikkema and Krista Tyhurst are all contestants as well – will be one advantage of participating. The other will be learning more about herself and getting to learn about the community that she’s fallen in love with.

“I enjoy the fact that it’s a safe environment and I can go and talk to my neighbors and not have to worry about anything, really,” she said. “I love the experience that I’m getting now and the chance to get to do some of the things that I’m doing is great.”

Ormonde considers herself perseverant, bubbly and friendly. She has been involved with a variety of extracurricular activities – serving in the school’s leadership class for three years, Girl’s League, the Fellowship for Christian Athletes, the cross country and track teams and the cheerleading squad.

Community service projects on her resume include things like washing and repainting the women’s bathroom at Stouffer Field, taking the elderly from Bethany Home to the Veteran’s Wall on Memorial Day and rebuilding the playroom at Modesto Medical Center.

She enjoys playing with kids, spending time with friends and family and making people smile.