The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Way up in the sky, beautiful balloons returning to Ripon, Mistlin Sports Park !

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Modesto, CA –  Folks will head up, up and not too far away as colorful balloons again pepper the skies for two days over Ripon.

Labor Day weekend heralds the 10th Color the Skies Hot Air Balloon & Kite Festival at Mistlin Sports Park – but the first for a new organizer of the event.

The Ripon Chamber Foundation has taken over the festival from founders Greg and Jessica Coleman this year, with proceeds going to traditional benefactor Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, as well as to youth programs in Ripon.

“It was important to keep it in Ripon and continue the Colemans’ hard work, so the Ripon Chamber Foundation decided to take it over,” Ripon Chamber of Commerce CEO Tamra Spade said in an email interview. The chamber foundation is a 1-year-old group that gives back to community youths through leadership training, scholarships and programs.

COLOR THE SKIES USUALLY ATTRACTS ABOUT 10,000 TO THE TWO-DAY EVENT.

Color the Skies is the largest hot air balloon festival in Central California, according to a press release. For this 10th anniversary celebration, more colorful balloons will pepper the park than in past years, Spade said. In addition, the Patriot Jet Team will fly over the festival Saturday and there will be live evening entertainment.

The festival was founded in 2006 by the Colemans to bring awareness and build financial support for Valley Children’s Hospital. About 10,000 people generally turn out for the two-day event, Spade said.

The festival begins at dawn, shortly after which – weather permitting – hot air balloons will be inflated and lifted into the skies. Tethered balloon rides for $10 begin as soon as the balloons are inflated.

WE WILL HAVE LIVE ENTERTAINMENT IN THE EVENING ON THE MAIN STAGE, PEOPLE CAN BRING OUT A PICNIC AND THEIR FOLD UP CHAIRS (LOW BACK) TO RELAX AND ENJOY THE ENTERTAINMENT WHILE THE CHILDREN ENJOY THE CARNIVAL.

Tamra Spade, Ripon Chamber of Commerce CEO –

The kite show features kite performances, candy drops from the sky, kite making and kite flying. In addition, Bay Area Skydivers will take to the skies both days.

The Air George Helicopter, the medical transport team from Children’s Hospital, will land on the field during Color the Skies on Saturday and Sunday with an opportunity for kids to meet the pilots.

The free festival also features a pancake breakfast, a 5k/10k run, children’s fun run, food for sale, carnival rides, local authors and concerts Friday and Saturday nights.

Spade said the event will stay true to the Colemans’ vision.

“Even though the event has changed hands, the idea of giving back to the Ripon Community and to continue the efforts of the Colemans is still very much alive,” she said. “This is an amazing hot air balloon festival and the only one in the Valley. It offers a wide variety of entertainment for the whole family.”

COLOR THE SKIES HOT AIR BALLOON & KITE FESTIVAL

When: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, and Sunday, Sept. 6; carnival and live music 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4

Where: Mistlin Sports Park, 1201 W. River Road, Ripon

Cost: Festival free; $5 parking. Tethered balloon rides $10

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Hot_Air_Balloon

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