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Loves how close folks are in Ripon
Jessica Carmona 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.

Jessica Carmona is no stranger to being around people.

The Ripon High School senior has been part of the school’s student leadership for three years. Her roster of activities reads like a laundry list of the plugged-in and the attentive – the California Scholarship Federation, the Buddy Club, Link Crew, Girls’ Club, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Cross Country, Soccer.

But she’ll have to put those skills that she’s learned interacting with people to good use over the course of the next month if she wants to be the last person standing on stage when Miss Ripon is crowned just two days before the 52nd annual Almond Blossom Parade.

“I love going to Almond Blossom with my friends and getting to see our town represented over the course of the weekend,” said Carmona – one of the seven candidates vying for the title this year. “I think that doing this a great way to give back to a community that has given so much to me.”

Carmona will join Kaitlyn Bradley, Francesca Arnaudo, Kaylie Schaeffer, Desirey Ormonde, Krista Tyhurst and Alyssa Sikkema in the variety of scenarios leading up to the coronation the Thursday before the final weekend in February. Along with her fellow candidates she’ll be judged in a variety of areas that will test poise and presentation in the search for a young woman that will represent the Ripon Chamber of Commerce and the community as a whole for the next year.

The daughter of Becky Robles and Anthony Carmona, Jessica said that she sees the merit in being part of a tradition like the Almond Blossom Queen court. She looks forward to forging a bond with the rest of the girls as the competition progresses.

She also looks forward to learning more about the community that she’s proud to call home.

“I love the closeness of Ripon and the fact that it’s a safe place – there isn’t a lot crime here and I know that this community has helped make me into the person that I am today,” she said. “I’m proud to have this chance, and I look forward to everything that I’ll learn from it.

“I know that it’ll be a great experience, and I know that these are things that I’ll be able to take with me even after I graduate from high school.”

Carmona plans on attending Santa Clara University, St. Mary’s College of California, Loyola Marymount, Sonoma State or University of the Pacific. She harbors ambitions of entering the field of healthcare and considers herself to be responsible, social and ambitious.