Almond Blossom Carnival Rocks in the Rain


Rain, mud, and 40 degree chills, the 61st annual Almond Blossom festival brought many surprises to the season. Since 1962, the Almond Blossom Festival has been one of the most important celebrations in Ripon. 

The Chamber of Commerce organizes the whole weekend, along with a few other organizations, and they make sure the events are safe for everyone. There are many different events during the weekend such as the Diaper Derby, the Bake Off, the Fun Run, and the parade. One of the most popular events is the carnival. With vendors and exciting rides for Riponities of all ages, it’s understood why the Almond Blossom Carnival is loved. 

“I think this weekend is very important,” says Kelly Dononhue, the President and CEO of the chamber. “A lot of people in this town talk about when they were kids and when they went to dollar night.” 

The number of sales depends on the weather. While you can get into the carnival for free, riding any rides costs money. The Chamber of Commerce has pre-sales for wristbands. During perfect weather, sales can range up to 1,500 wristbands. However, this year, the weather caused many problems for everyone. 

Before the festival became too widespread, it used to be set up at the Community Center Park. Lifetime Riponite, Melanie Perez, says, “I feel like it had more of a small town feel than out at Mistlin. It was lovely.” 

Rain was forecasted for the whole weekend, but the celebration continued on. Almond Blossom has been set up at Mistlin Sports Park every year for the past years. This environment wasn’t convenient for this year’s carnival because of the weather. The dirt floors became pools of mud and many rides were shut down because of rain. The whole weekend was hindered. Dononhue states, “I would definitely say we didn’t have as many people at the carnival this year, because of the rain.” Because not as many Riponites made it to the festival, the lines were shorter which was enjoyable for the people who did go. 

Every year Dononhue says, “Plan for the rain, hope for the shine.” This year Almond Blossom was hit with a winter storm, but the festival continued throughout the weekend.