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Sweaneys knowledge of Ripon blossoms
Camila Sweaney poses with a young girl after lighting the Ripon Community Christmas Tree.
- WHAT: Almond Blossom fashion show
- WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m.
Ripon High multipurpose room
- TICKETS: $10
- FOR TICKETS: Drop by the Ripon Chamber of Commerce, 929 W. Main St., Ripon, call 599-7519
RIPON – Camila Sweaney has had a busy year.

While holding the title of Miss Ripon 2009, Sweaney has embarked on her quest to receive a communication studies degree from California State University, Stanislaus – traveling home to fulfill her duties as the face of Ripon in various parades and community events.

But throughout the experience, Sweaney has soaked up as much knowledge of the community and the people in it as possible and believes that her involvement has helped her mature as both a person and a young woman.

“One of the benefits was that I got to know a lot of people in the community and I learned a lot about the community that I didn’t already know,” Sweaney said. “This town has some of the most remarkable people, and I’m still honored that I had the chance to represent it.”

It was riding down Main Street in the Almond Blossom Parade that Sweaney remembers most – noting that all of her family and friends had lined the parade route to celebrate her coronation and support her endeavor.

Over the course of the year, Sweaney would learn about both her town and herself – using the various experiences she was treated to as a way to improve herself.

“It was great just being able to develop myself as a young woman,” Sweaney said. “Being involved with the Almond Blossom Queen event allowed me to come out from under my shell and learn to be more comfortable in public. That’s something that’s invaluable and that I’ll never forget.”

Sweaney only has another month before she turns over the crown to one of the six young women vying for it: Annaliese Ippolito, Karena Stephens, Chantyl Vasquez, Megan Kuhn, Joie Darretta, and Sarah Ambrose.

She’ll turn over the crown at the Almond Blossom Coronation ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 26 – the day before the start of the annual festival.

And she has some advice to whichever young lady happens to be her successor.

“The biggest thing to remember is just to enjoy yourself and enjoy your experiences while they last,” Sweaney said. “The time flies by and you’re going to learn so much. Just try and take it all in and carry it with you forever.”