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Color the Skies offers balloons, kites and more
Color the Skies--KITE 1
Because of weather concerns, the 2013 festival will showcase only three balloons as long as things arent blunder. Kites will replace the bright and colorful balloons in the sky. - photo by PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED

The colorful balloons. The crowds. The money raised.

There are a lot of things that Jessica Coleman appreciates about Color the Skies – the event at Mistlin Park that she started with her husband as a fundraising and awareness tool for Children’s Hospital Central California – and the support that it has received from the community over the years.

But it’s the kids and their families and the realization that the people in her community understand that really thrills Coleman as she prepares for the 2013 incarnation of the day-long festival that will serve as a transition from the brightly-colored balloons that gave the event its namesake to elaborate kites that are more weather-friendly.

Bringing in $160,000 for the hospital since the event was started is nothing to sneeze at. Coleman, however, says she’s glad that people realize that the event is about more than money. Getting the name of the hospital out there and having people realize its mission is what is truly important to her.

“I always joke that Color the Skies has raised more awareness than dollars for Children’s Hospital Central California. And it’s true,” Coleman said. “However, the goal of the hospital is not to make money, it’s to make world class, quality and affordable health care available to our valley’s children.

“My husband Greg and I knew the goal of the hospital when we began this journey, and we believe we’ve been able to help them reach that goal. You simply can’t put a dollar amount on giving families the resources they need.”

The event formally kicks-off on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 6:30 a.m. when the three balloons that are scheduled to appear will be launched. The children’s carnival will begin at 9 a.m., the 5 and 10K runs will begin at 9:30 a.m. and kite flying shows will be showcased throughout the day. The awards for the kite contest will be given out at 3:30 p.m. A farmer’s market will also be available.

Construction at Mistlin Park of softball diamonds around the water tower impacted the planning of organizers like Coleman, who were thankful last year that the city delayed the construction by three days to allow the 2012 festival to go off without a hitch.

Come Saturday, however, Coleman still expects the crowds to come out en masse to support what has been a popular event with the community and something that she’s glad can still draw a crowd – especially since it’s always been held on Labor Day Weekend.

“Our future looks amazing at Children’s Hospital and for Color the Skies,” Coleman said. “We are very excited that we have such tremendous support from our partners, even in this year of challenges.”

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To contact Jason Campbell, email or call (209) 249-3544.