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Color the Skies balloon festival Saturday & Sunday at Mistlin
Color the Skies hot air balloon festival returns to Mistlin Park Saturday and Sunday. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON — This Saturday and Sunday will mark the sixth year of Northern California’s only balloon festival that takes place at Mistlin Park starting at dawn both days.

The weekend is packed with family-oriented events from hot air balloons with tethered rides, a pancake breakfast, aerial exhibitions, fun runs, crafts, and  live entertainment.

The Color the Skies balloon festival is a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital Central California located in Madera.

“So many people in our area give to distant children’s hospitals without realizing that we have a world-class hospital here. Our local children’s hospital serves the children in our community and does a phenomenal job,” explained Jessica Coleman, founder of Color the Skies, Inc. “but it needs our support to continue to fund cutting edge-care to the sickest and neediest of our local children.”

In 2009, Children’s Hospital Central California served Stanislaus County by providing care to 435 inpatients totaling 2,674 days of specialized pediatric medical care with 8,328 outpatient services.

In San Joaquin County records show services provided to 38 inpatients – totaling 266 days as well as 873 outpatient services. Modesto ranks in the Top 10 cities that Children’s Hospital Central California provides life saving care to. Because of this, Children’s Hospital opened the Modesto Pediatric Subspecialty Center in 2003 providing children and families access to some of the world’s finest pediatric subspecialists in an environment that is close to home.

In 2009, over $10,000 in proceeds from the festival benefited the Children’s Hospital Central California Medical Transport Team. Providing much needed resources for the team of pilots and trauma nurses that travel in the Air George Helicopter to save lives.

Color The Skies is a non-profit organization giving 100% of its proceeds to Children’s Hospital of Central California.

Children’s Hospital Central California is a not-for-profit, state-of-the-art regional medical center located in Madera just north of Fresno whose coverage area spans 45,000 square miles. From Bakersfield to Stockton and from the Sierra to the Central Coast – more kids are treated at Children’s than any other pediatric hospital north of San Diego. It’s the largest children’s hospital in California in terms of bed size and the sixth largest in the United States.

Medical professionals provide life-saving care to the sickest of the sick and the poorest of the poor every single day and night. With 45 subspecialties and over 500 pediatric specialists, there isn’t a lot that the hospital’s staff can’t do.