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Color the Skies volunteer rally Monday

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Color the Skies volunteer rally Monday

The Wells Fargo Hot Air Balloon will be in Ripon during Labor Day Weekend.

Photo contributed/

POSTED August 23, 2014 12:22 a.m.

The Color the Skies hot air balloon extravaganza coming next weekend to Ripon is made possible by teamwork with volunteers from churches, schools and the community at large. 

A huge volunteer rally is set for Monday, Aug. 25, at 6 p.m. at the Mistlin Sports Park Amphitheater on River Road in Ripon near the baseball fields in the back of the park. 

Jessica Coleman, founder of the event, will be on hand to oversee the volunteers picking up their volunteer shirts and turning in their release of liability forms and verifying the shifts they will be working at the two-day event.

Coleman urged those interested to contact to join the Color the Skies Team. Volunteers under the age of 18 must have their parent’s signature on the release of liability forms. The form can also be found on the Color the Skies website.

Coleman said the Wells Fargo “Stage Coach Balloon” — a favorite in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta — will make its first appearance in Ripon’s ninth annual event.

“We are so excited to have the Wells Fargo Center Stage balloon this year,” Coleman said.  “This balloon has never been to California so it will be a real treat for festival goers to not only be able to see it but also be able to take a tethered ride in its basket.”

The balloon measures 100 feet long and 90 feet tall.  Wells Fargo is sending 25 volunteers to help with the inflation and the tethering of the massive balloon. 

Entry to the two-day festival charges $5 for parking while admission is free. Proceeds from the festival support the world class pediatric Children’s Hospital Central California located just north of Fresno in Madera.

Tickets for the Color the Skies pancake breakfast and ribs, hot dogs or turkey leg lunch are available online.  Discount carnival tickets are on sale at Nasco in Modesto and ad The Corner Stop Eatery in Ripon.

The two-day festival is held at Mistlin Sports Park in the 1200 block of River Road just east of Jack Tone Road on the north side of Ripon.  The first day begins with prayer and the singing of the National Anthem.

At dawn crews will begin inflating the balloon prior to their ascending into the morning sky.  Tethered balloon rides will begin as soon as the balloons are inflated so anyone can experience the feel and the sound of hot air balloons from inside the basket.

The pancake breakfast begins at 6 a.m. followed later by the kite show that features synchronized kite performances, candy drops from the sky, kite making and kite flying.

On Saturday there is a 5K and10K or 1/4 mile Children’s Fun Run. The medical transport helicopter, Air George, from Children’s Hospital will land on the field both days.  Kids can meet the pilots and see the little patients who will be onboard — last time it was “Snoopy.” 

On stage back-to-back clowns, animal shows and youth performers are scheduled for both days along with a variety of vendors, and even a carnival. Chuggabug Train Rides will be available for the entire family.

Student volunteers are coming from Ripon High School, Sierra High School, Ripon Christian High, Modesto High, Gregori High School, McNair High and St. Mary’s High School. Students also scheduled to help at the event are coming from Ripona and Colony Oak elementary schools.  Church members volunteering are from Calvary Reformed and Ripon Grace Bretheren.  irl Scout and Boy Scout troops have also offered to be of assistance.

Corporate volunteers are coming from E&J GalloWinery, SaveMart Supermarkets, Nasco, J.C. Penny, Wells Fargo, Ratto Brothers Produce, Pacific Southwest Container and the Modesto Bee.

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