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Hot air balloons return
Ripon festival at Mistlin Park this weekend
A balloon lifts off during last years Color the Skies at Mistlin Sports Park. - photo by Bulletin file photo

Volunteers are needed for this weekend’s Color the Skies at Mistlin Sports Park.

The two-day event is scheduled Saturday and Sunday. But helpers are also needed for Friday (volunteers are being sought from 5 to 9 p.m. to handle parking).

During the day of the event, organizers are in need of folks to work the 5 to 9 a.m., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 1 to 5 p.m. shifts.

Those helping out can also have a preference to assist with the balloon crew, pancake breakfast (kitchen shifts start at 4 a.m.), ticket sales / ticket takers, toys, Fun Run, or general clean up.

Color the Skies is the largest hot air balloon festival in Central California with some of the proceeds supporting Children’s Hospital Central California.

As the only regional hospital for youngsters, Greg and Jessica Coleman brought the hot air balloon show to Ripon in 2006 in an effort to raise awareness and build a financial support for the facility formerly Valley Children’s Hospital, located north of Fresno in Madera County.

This year they’ve passed the torch to the Ripon Chamber Foundation.

In addition to the hospital, Color the Skies will support Ripon youth sports programs, provide leadership training as well as scholarships to local high school students.

The festival begins at dawn – 6 a.m. – with a prayer and the National Anthem. What follows is what the Chamber calls “an absolutely gorgeous setting of hot air balloons inflating and lifting into the skies.”

Tethered rides are available for $10 per ticket. Those interested can jump inside and have a sneak peak of how feels to be inside of an actual hot air balloon.

A Saturday-only Fun Run is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 a.m.

As balloons ascent from the Mistlin Sports Park at 1201 W. River Rd., runners can take part in a 5 or 10 kilometer run or the children’s quarter-mile (9 a.m.) events.

A toy giveaway (8 o’clock), carnival (9 o’clock), Bay Area Skydivers (9:30), Air George Helicopter (10 o’clock), Patriots Jet Team flyover / kite candy drop (10:30), and the Ravioli Clown Show (11:30) are also on the morning schedule for both days.

Color the Skies, in addition, will feature a Sparkles the Clown Show and local authors on stage doing a reading.

Cost is $5 parking per vehicle.

Other fees include the Fun Run, breakfast  and carnival tickets.

A $20 presale for unlimited ride wristbands can be had at the Ripon Chamber of Commerce (929 W. Main St.) and the Ripon Police Department (250 N. Wilma Ave.) or $30 on the day of the event.

For more information, call the Ripon Chamber Foundation at 209.599.7519 or log on to