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Who will reign?


Spring time means it's time once again to place a crown on a new Dairy Princess.

The 57th annual Dairy Princess Contest & Ball "How Sweet It Is" takes place April 5 at the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building.

Outgoing princess Francesca Gambonini will crown her successor at the event co-sponsored by the North Bay Dairy Women and the California Milk Advisory Board. The Dairy Princess is the spokesperson for the dairy industry and represents the local farmers and producers in Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Solano, Mendocino and Lake counties.

Julianna McCall Bibee

Tomales High School senior Julianna McCall Bibee, 17, has always considered it a privilege to be raised in and around agriculture. The daughter of Allen Bibee and Sheila McCall, She grew up on the dairy her great-grandfather started in northern Marin County. It was her grandfather and his brother who expanded the dairy from milking just a few cows to nearly 500 Holsteins. Julianna has seen many changes on the farm through the years. "I witnessed modernization and the use of technology for advancement in the production of milk on the McCall dairy," she said. "Now, we are currently milking 90 head of Holsteins and Jerseys producing organic milk."

In addition to working on the dairy, Julianna works as a cashier at Michael's in Petaluma. She participates in school sports and is a member of Future Farmers of America, Lake County Junior Horsemen and Lake Country Drill Team.

"Growing up I always held a high fondness for the girls who represented the dairies in our district," she said. "This high esteem was inspired by my mother, who was a part of the Dairy Princess court. I am honored to follow my mother's footsteps by running for Dairy Princess. I would be honored with the opportunity to represent District 2 dairies and educate the youth in our knowledge of the production of California milk."

Ellorine Carle

For Penngrove resident Ellorine Carle, 17, becoming a Dairy Princess has been a dream of hers since she was 8 years old — even though she didn't know the difference between a dairy cow and a beef cow. Though she didn't grew up on a dairy, Ellorine received her first replacement heifer when she was 10 years old.

"From raising heifers, I gained first hand experience that can only be found on a farm," she said. "It's one thing to be able to talk about the industry, but another to actually explain it."

The daughter of Steve Carle and Heidi Dieffenbach-Carle, Ellorine is a senior at Casa Grande High School who is currently co-editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, The Gaucho Gazette. She has been a member of the Penngrove 4-H Club since 2003 and is the current president. Ellorine is a member of the Redwood Empire Jr. Holstein Association, the California State Holstein Association and has won a number of awards for showing dairy goats and cows. Ellorine has also participated in many Holstein Association activities, such as the Dairy Bowl, Cow Camp and Dairy Jeopardy.

"I want to advocate for an industry that has influenced and shaped me into the person I am today," said Ellorine of running for Dairy Princess. "I want to ensure its survival, especially in Sonoma County, for generations to come."

Jeannette Downer-Lanatti

Raised on her grandmother's horse ranch in Arizona, Jeanette Downer-Lanatti, 17, enrolled in 4-H after moving to a Petaluma ranch and began raising all kinds of market animals from rabbits to steers.

"I have loved growing up in the agriculture lifestyle and wish to be more involved," said Jeannette.

The daughter of James and Sarah Lanatti, Jeannette is a senior at Petaluma High School with aspirations of becoming an Air Force nurse. She is a member of Golden Hills 4-H, where she is currently treasurer and has served as president. She is the 4-H California State Ambassador for 2013-14. Jeannette has also been involved in many volunteer projects from providing meals for Committee on the Shelterless families to planting trees for Arbor Day.

She is a member of the Petaluma High School marching band and varsity jazz band. She also works as a clerk at the Petaluma Creamery.

"I would really love to be Dairy Princess because I want to work more with the community and the state," she said. "I would like to teach the public more about the dairy industry, as well as learn more from it as well."

Gianna Pendleton

Tom and Michelle Pendleton's 17-year-old daughter, Gianna is a senior at Analy High School who plans on going to Santa Rosa Junior College and the University California, Davis to major in veterinary science. Her goal is to become a large animal veterinarian.

This active senior participates in sports, 4-H, Future Farmers of America and many community events. She was a 2013-14 Sonoma County 4-H All Star and the winner of the California State FFA Community Service Award. She was selected as one of four finalists for the National FFA award. She was even honored by President Obama for community service.

Gianna is looking forward to teaching children valuable lessons regarding the healthy lifestyle of dairy products and where they truly come from. "I have learned that children believe their dairy products come out of cartons and boxes at the grocery store," said Gianna. "I want to teach them the valuable lessons regarding the healthy lifestyle of dairy products and where they truly come from."

She is excited about the new campaign promoting the dairy industry, "Milk Life" and said she would love to promote it.

Gina Piccinini

Gina Piccinini, 17, attends Analy High School and lives in Sebastopol. The daughter of Jack and Jenifer Piccinini, she plans on attending Santa Rosa Junior College to major in fire science to become a firefighter paramedic.

She raised her first heifer during her freshman year of high school and became hooked on agriculture. Since then, she has raised four milk cows and has enjoyed learning about how to care for animals.

"I never would have thought that one heifer would lead me down an amazing path of meeting new people, learning about the dairy industry and the connections and activities I would be involved with," she said.

Gina is currently serving as a volunteer firefighter, having completed Fire 208, first responder, and Fire 71 classes at Santa Rosa Junior College. She was the Analy Homecoming Queen and is active in sports, modeling and FFA. She has earned a California FFA degree and was dairy proficiency winner at the chapter level.

Gina is very comfortable with informing the public and teaching them about the dairy industry and hopes to be a positive role model if she is chosen as Dairy Princess.

"I would like to educate the public about the dairy industry," she said. "I would like to be a positive role model in the dairy industry."

The Dairy Princess Contest & Ball takes place April 5 at the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building, 1094 Petaluma Blvd. South. The doors open at 6 p.m. with the coronation program at 7 p.m. The evening includes a buffet dinner served by Jimmy's Catering Company. There will be dancing from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m.

Tickets are $30 general, $15 for children under 12. Ticket sales are limited. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Tickets are available at John's Dairy Supply and Jay Palms.