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Ripon chamber saves Color the Skies
Balloon festival will underwrite education programs
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Balloons being launched from Mistlin Sports Park during a previous Color the Skies event. - photo by GLENN KAHL

The Color the Skies event is being taken over by the Ripon Chamber of Commerce.

The Ripon business organization is also promising 30 balloons instead of the typical 13  during the Labor Day weekend festival at Mistlin Sports Park. 

Proceeds will go toward educational programs, according to the chamber Chief Executive Officer/President Tamra Spade.

“We hope to support youth in the community with vocational training,” Spade said. “We’re hoping to create a 12-month program with the youth touring different industries each month, including emergency services, manufacturing and government with their graduation coming a year later.”

The chamber plans to use some of the Color the Skies proceeds to purchase some 15 defibrillators for Ripon schools at a cost of about $15,000. She added that the chamber’s Lobster Feed set for July 25 will also be used to plan for the balloon event’s success on September 4-6. 

Spade recalled the Gregori High School youth who was stricken recently with a heart attack adding that the school didn’t have a defibrillator on campus that could have brought a better resolution. The chamber doesn’t want to see that happened on any Ripon school campus.

Some $5,000 of the proceeds will go toward the support of Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera that initially benefitted from all proceeds of the Color the Skies spectacular, she added.

“There is so much potential to what we can do to help with education,” Spade said.  

The committee is also investigating the possibility of starting a junior Toastmasters styled club to introduce students to the art of public speaking they can use in their education and beyond into their adult life. 

The three day balloon event is also planning to bring in gourmet food trucks instead of having food vendors for the crowd that will be entertained by the Patriot jet planes and sky divers from the Bay Area at the 10th annual event.  A kite show is scheduled again as is the 10K, 5K and quarter mile runs along with the children’s run .

In addition to the gourmet food trucks, the planners are hoping to have a pancake breakfast hosted by the Ripon Lions Club with the Grange supplying the nachos. 

“We’re hoping to make money and give it back to the community through the service organizations – so they can make money too and give it back to the community,” Spade explained. It should be a win-win situation for everybody, she added. 

The Color the Skies event was in danger of being dropped this year without the chamber stepping up.