Subscribe for 33¢ / day
Raisin Royalty Candidates

Khori Cranford, Alyna Esquivel and Jasmine Garcia are running for the coveted title of Raisin Festival Queen.

SELMA – Although it’s a month away from the annual Selma District Chamber of Commerce’s annual Raisin Festival, three candidates are already pounding the pavement seeking to sell tickets and win the coveted title of Raisin Festival Queen.

Selma Chamber Director Bob Allen said since the contest is decided simply by which ever candidate raises the most through ticket sales, it’s up to them to network and spread the word. In doing so, Allen said the candidates learn to develop their communication and presentation skills and meet even more members of the community.

“The Raisin Festival’s always exciting and especially the part of the Raisin Royalty and the fact we have young people in the community who feel the need to support the community,” Allen said. “Our Raisin Royalty is just based on selling tickets. There’s no beauty contest or essay.

Part of the ticket sales will help fund Chamber events such as the annual summer concerts, Santa’s Arrival Christmas parade and the annual car show, Parkin’ in the Park. A portion is shared with the winning candidate who typically uses the funds as scholarships for her education.

Allen said he’s excited about what the fundraiser means for the candidates, for the Chamber and the community.

“When I meet them for the very first time and by the time the coronation comes that Friday of the festival, these young ladies have grown into mature young women. They’ve been out in the community, met people and zeroed in on improving their communication skills.”

This year, the three candidates are Khori Cranford, who is sponsored by Robertson Guerra Insurance, Alyna Esquivel, who is sponsored by Selma Rotary, and Jasmine Garcia, who is sponsored by the Central Valley Lioness Lions Club.

We asked the candidates questions so the community can get to know them better. Here are their replies:

Alyna Esquivel

Q: Tell us about yourself:

A: I’m 22 years old and attend college at Fresno Pacific University. I am majoring in dietitian/nutrition and my goal is to become a registered dietitian.

Q: What has your community involvement included?

A: I work for Fyzical Therapy & Balance Center in Selma, formerly known as Courtney Moore Physical Therapy. I have worked part time here before and after school since I was 16 years old. I work in most areas of the office as a gym aide helping patients learn and understand their exercises. My primary job is working in the front office where, among other things, I schedule all new patients. I have recently started a new position as physician liaison where I go out and meet schedule referral coordinators at various doctors’ offices.

Q: Why do you want to be the Raisin Festival Queen?

A: I feel that being Raisin Queen is more than wearing a crown, it’s a job and I want to bring a positive attitude to everything I do for Selma whether it be riding in the parade or helping the less fortunate around town.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most if you win the title?

A: I was born and raised in Selma and graduated from Selma High School. I love being a part of a small town like Selma and I love the community. I look forward to being able to be a part of this amazing city and be involved in the events that make Selma a great place to live. I hope that I can be a positive role model in everything I do.

Khori Cranford

Q: Tell us about yourself:

A: I’m 16 and a full-time student Selma High. I’m the Junior Class President, a SHS leadership member, a reporter on The Clarion school newspaper, an APEX Club member, National Honors Society member, California Scholarship Federation member and a LINK Crew Leader. I play volleyball, basketball and I dive as well.

Q: What has your community involvement included?

A: My community involvement includes volunteering at the animal shelter often, helping with the Challenger Little League games, volunteering at Fresno’s Poverello House and serving as Vice Chairman with the Armenian Church Youth Organization. I’m also a youth girls’ basketball coach and I just finished coaching a volunteer Christian Volleyball Camp with Athletes in Mission during spring break for kids in London and Traver.

Q: Why do you want to be the Raisin Festival Queen?

A: I’d love to be Raisin Queen because I feel that I would be a great representative of our community. I really enjoy attending community events and learning about our city and all of the amazing people that make Selma our home.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most if you win the title?

A: If I do win the title, I’m looking forward to all the opportunities I will have to be a confident and ideal role model to younger kids. I also look forward to being a positive reflection of our community by showing everyone how growing up in Selma has shaped me for the woman that I am becoming.

Jasmine Garcia

Q: Tell us about yourself:

A: I am 18 years old and currently a senior at Selma High School.

Q: What has your community involvement included?

A: Right now I’m in swim, I was in volleyball during the fall. I am the Vice President for Skills USA at Selma High. Currently I am in the Certified Nursing Assistant class at Selma High and taking an Emergency Medical Technician class to work my way up to becoming a pediatrician. I have volunteered for Exceptional Sports for Youth with Needs. They do bowling, baseball and soccer and are currently in baseball season. I work at Claire’s in Fashion Fair Mall in Fresno. Right now, I am a sales clerk but working my way up to third key.

Q: Why do you want to be the Raisin Festival Queen?

A: I want to be the 2018-2019 Raisin Queen to be more involved with my community, help others in the community, and also get help for college to be a pediatrician.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most if you win the title?

A: If I were to win this title, I would look most forward to being at all community events, making my parents proud and being the Queen of the community I was born and raised in.

Allen said after interviewing the candidates, he can tell they’ve matured in the months leading up to the coronation. And for those that become Queen, the year of representing the City of Selma opens their eyes to understanding the community as they meet so many members of town, he said.

“Because I have one-on-one contact with each one of them, it’s great to see that growth. I just finished writing a letter of recommendation for our current queen, Sierra Shoemaker. She had a lot of leadership skills to begin with, but it’s really unique to see her have the gift to be able to go from young people to the older community and be able to get support for the things she’s done. That, to me, is what this is all about.”

The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or

Load comments