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While many across the country attribute the late winter months with freezing rain and snow, here in the 209 we are blessed to have February herald the start of our early spring. The annual Almond Blossom Festival in Ripon is not only a celebration of one of the area’s top agricultural products, but also the start of outdoor festival season.

February and March are some of the best months to get out and explore the area with mild temperatures making outdoor adventures enjoyable without the traffic that usually brings tourists travelling through on their way from the Bay to Yosemite or from areas east to San Francisco.

In this issue, you’ll find stories previewing the Almond Blossom Festival and the Dos Rios Ranch restoration project, as well as how to get a start on spring garden plantings.

As always, we are featuring local restaurants and bars and a new coffee shop coming to Newman that will also pay tribute to a local K9 officer.

Those looking to spice up their Valentine’s Day plans should check out our dancing feature and information on the West Side Theater.

Thank you for taking the time to read 209 Magazine. We welcome your comments, calendar events and stories. We hope you will support the businesses and charities that have chosen to partner with us. We appreciate them and look forward to being the most relevant magazine in your home, a place called 209.

Hank Vander Veen

Publisher/Owner 209 Magazine