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UOP sophomore among queen hopefuls
Annaliese Ippolito - photo by Photo Contributed


• WHAT: 48th Almond Blossom Festival
• WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 25, thru Sunday, Feb. 28
• WHERE: Ripon Community Center
• MORE INFO: Call Ripon chamber at 599-7519

RIPON – Annaliese Ippolito always admired the young women who were selected to represent Ripon as they made their way down Main Street in the annual Almond Blossom parade.

Now she’s hoping that she gets to be the one who inspires somebody.

Along with five other Almond Queen hopefuls – Chantyl Vasquez, Megan Kuhn, Joie Darretta, Sarah Ambrose, and Karena Stephens – Ippolito will take the stage at the Ripon Community Center Thursday night to be officially introduced to the community and to deliver a speech about the impact of scouting on Ripon over the course of the last century.

The Almond Blossom Kick-off dinner – which officially serves as the start of the six-week buildup to the annual festival which pays tribute to all things Almond – begins at 7 p.m.

“I had always admired the girls who got the chance to ride in the parade, and I wanted to find out what the experience was like and what it was all about,” Ippolito said. “I submitted my application and I was selected. I’m really happy that I’m getting the opportunity to be involved in this and am looking forward to the experience.”

The University of the Pacific freshman with sophomore standing was a student of Ripona Elementary before transferring to Connecting Waters Charter School and eventually San Joaquin Delta College.

The daughter of Domenic and Karen Ippolito, Annaliese spends her spare time teaching violin to children, performing at retirement homes and the library, and tutoring at Ripona.

She is currently striving to obtain a master’s degree in music and hopes to one day be able to open her own private studio to teach children about the beauty of music and perform in symphonies and chamber ensembles.

While she hopes to be wearing the crown at the conclusion of the Coronation ceremony on the Thursday before the start of the festival, Ippolito also said she’s just looking forward to being a part of something that has such a strong tradition within the community.

“I’m hoping to win, but even if I don’t I know that this is an experience that I will never regret,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about the community and what it takes to represent the community. Those are things that I would never trade in.”

Ippolito enjoys playing the violin, cello, and flute when she isn’t busy with her studies or her volunteer work, and is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The 2010 Ripon Almond Blossom Festival will begin on Thursday, Feb. 25, with the crowning of the 2010 Miss Almond Blossom at the Community Center. The carnival and the festival will begin on Friday, with the parade to begin on Saturday morning.