OBF Coronation dances between raindrops

By Carolyn Barbre

Probably the big question on everyone's mind was whether or not the Orange Blossom Festival Coronation scheduled to start at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 17 at Sweet Brier Plaza would be rained on or not.

As if Mother Nature were saying, "Of course I don't want to dampen your special event," the rain that had been falling off and on over the day, stopped before the coronation, and not more than five or 10 minutes after, started coming down in big bold drops.

The OBF Queen and court all looked so lovely as they passed by, coming from the fountain to stage. OBF Chairman Bob Kisling introduced the honored couple, queen and court, as the girls came down the aisle escorted by their fathers. Once on the stage, the sun was at their back, making photos problematic, also causing the audience to try and shade their eyes. It will be nice when the trees behind the stage have grown up enough to create some shading.

On behalf of the mayor, City Manager Scot Townsend read the Mayoral Proclamation for Orange Blossom Festival Days as follows: Whereas, the Orange Blossom Festival is a celebration honoring the city industry in our proud community; and whereas, observance of this week affords the citizens of Lindsay a special opportunity to recognize the significant role of this industry in our city; and whereas, this celebration commemorates the 72nd Anniversary of the Lindsay Orange Blossom Festival, so let this year also represent a celebration to honor a city where all of its citizens give vision to progress and to pride and now, therefore, I, Ed Murray, Mayor of the City of Lindsay, on behalf of the City Council and all our citizens, do hereby proclaim April 17-24 as Orange Blossom Festival Days in Lindsay and urge the entire community to actively support and participate in the activities of this celebration planned and conducted by the Orange Blossom Festival Committee.

Townsend also presented a special proclamation plaque to the Honored Couple and Queen Esmeralda Soria.

bob Kisling resumed his post as master of ceremonies and introduced previous honored couples and honored persons attending the coronation including Mr. and Mrs. Don Bessey, Mr. and Mrs. John Hill, Mrs. Wilma Hill, Mrs. Teresa Serna, Mr. and Mrs. Gene Biddle and Mr. and mrs. Hal Munter. Former OBF queens in attendance were Brandy Tienken, Carmen Garcia, Sarah Dutton Yates and Corinne Ginsberg from 2003 who was there to pass on the crown.

Corinne took the podium and told the 2004 queen and court, "This will be a week you will remember the rest of your lives." She said no matter if they had lived their whole lives in Lindsay, they would be learning a great deal this week. You will get a whole new perspective," she promised, and passed on the crown to Queen Soria.

The Honored Couple next addressed the gathering. Corky Wynn likened the 2004 theme of Orange O-lympics as team work for all the people involved in making sure the festival "really is a festival." He thanked the behind-the-scenes workers including police and public works for making everything so beautiful and keeping it all safe.

"Laura and I thank you to have us as your Honored Couple. With all these bright and pretty ladies, I don't know how I can lose," he finished.

Next each member of the court shared a little about themselves, using a theme of inspirational words including "motivation, dedication, communication and compassion."

Laura Jimenez said she was always motivated to be the best and most successful student she could be, which is how she became involved in AVID (see story on page 6). "The community has given me comfort and support," Jimenez said. She credited FFA for making her a responsible person and said her parents "have always sustained hope in my future," adding that Lindsay has a family-like atmosphere.

"Success is measured by what you do for others as well," Jimenez said. She said she has been motivated to make Lindsay a better place which has made her a better person.

Daniela Rangel spoke about dedication, which she defined as setting aside everything else to reach your dream. "I always wanted to be a doctor," she said. Rangel said she will be going to UCLA because she devoted her time and energy to taking advanced courses in high school. As a junior she took a certified nursing course where she said she learned patient to caregiver relationships.

Rangel was born in Mexico and came to Lindsay at 4 years of age. "My parents always supported and encouraged me." Rangel said as the oldest she has tried to be a well rounded role model to her siblings.

"Without the love and dedication of the OBF team, this celebration would not take place," she observed. "OBF is a celebration of all the hard work poured into our fields."

Marcela Estrada said communication is the interchange of ideas and opinions. "Stage fright was my biggest fault until FFA," she said. Estrada said she became involved in everything she could. "My communication skills have become strong and now I get to represent Lindsay in the biggest event of the year."

Estrada credited he parents for being "extremely important" in helping her achieve her goals.

Julie Ana Diaz said compassion is having sympathy for others, being kind hearted. She said she has been involved in Key Club since her freshman year. She recalled participating in Key Club when they provided 150 cans of food for each of seven needy families.

Diaz said Lindsay has a "real family feel. Despite races and economic differences we are all Lindsayans," she said.

She thanked her parents and all the people who have supported her in her journey. Diaz will be attending UC

Berkeley. "I will always remember the compassionate city of Lindsay," she concluded.

The final speaker was Queen Esmeralda Soria. "I never expected to receive such special recognition. I know I would not be here if not for all the guidance and support of family and friends," she said. Soria is in her fourth year at UC Berkeley. She said she hopes to one day start a political career, maybe starting locally.

"I own this opportunity to my grandfather who arrived here in World War II to pick oranges," she said. Soria said her family has always worked in ag, where she joined them in the fields as a child. She said she knew she had the choice of following in that type of life, or getting an education where she could make good money without having to do the hard labor in the sun. "I encourage all of you to encourage young adults to pursue education. I thank my family for all their love and support," she said in conclusion.

There was just time for everyone to give hugs and kisses of congratulations and snap some photos before the sky opened up and great big drops came splashing down on the end of a beautiful ceremony.

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