Every spring, the North Bay Dairy Women put on an event that's a pretty big deal in the ag community, but little known to outsiders.
It’s called the Dairy Princess Contest and Ball, where a girl is chosen to be the "goodwill ambassador" for the local dairy industry. The new "princess" then speaks at schools, fairs and community events to raise the profile of dairy products and educate people about the importance of the industry.
This year, the ball will be held on Saturday, April 13 at the Petaluma Veterans’ Hall and the public is invited. It’s a tradition that has lasted for more than 50 years, bringing generations of Petaluma families under one roof while honoring region’s agricultural roots.
The contestants include Makenzie Floyd, Francesca Gambonini, Callie Marsh, Jessie Peterson and Regina Pozzi.
Makenzie Floyd is the 18 year old daughter of Linda and Robert Floyd of Sebastopol and a senior at Sonoma Academy with plans to pursue a degree in Animal Science at Oregon State University and become a large animal veterinarian.
Sixth generation dairy farmer, Francesca Gambonini is a senior at St. Vincent de Paul High School and is the daughter of Frank and Stacey. The future dairy cattle geneticist will attend California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo in the fall and has already traveled the world for dairy competitions.
The third contender for the crown is Petaluma High senior Jessie Peterson, the 18 year old daughter of Lew and Dodie of Petaluma and will be attending Santa Rosa Junior College in the Fall with plans to transfer to California State University Chico.
Jessie plans to teach agriculture and be an FFA Advisor at a local Sonoma County School.
Regina Pozzi, daughter of Martin and Sally Pozzi of Petaluma is currently a senior at Petaluma High School. She hopes to someday work in Public Policy or Agricultural Policy on issues affecting production agriculture.
Callie Marsh will be graduating from Petaluma High School and continuing on to Santa Rosa Junior College with the hopes of one day becoming a veterinary technician. The 17 year old is the daughter of Chris and Barbara Marsh.
Escorting the candidates this year are: Kyle Bianchi, Justin Bibee, Bill Dellinger, Jake Ielmorini, Israel Ornelas, Cole Pruett, Ty Renati and Bryan Rocha.
The $30 entrance gets you a buffet dinner and dancing. Tickets available at John’s Dairy Supplies or at Jay Palms Saddle Shop in Penngrove.
Have a story idea for Petaluma Patch? Drop Local Editor Karina Ioffee a line at firstname.lastname@example.org