Ripon Chamber cancels balloon festival and run this year

soaring over ripon runThe Ripon Chamber of Commerce, which took over management of the Soaring Over Ripon Hot Air Balloon and Kite Festival, will not be holding the annual event in Mistlin Park over the 2018 Labor Day weekend. No reason was given on its website, nor did it state whether the events would return in 2019.

The two-day festival started several years ago as the Color the Skies Balloon Festival, with several balloons lifting off at sunrise each day. A fun run, which had the tag line, “Rise, Shine, Give, Run,” was part of the event’s first day.

After winds grounded the hot-air balloons several years, a kite festival was added in case Mother Nature didn’t oblige.

The event originally featured a 5K and 1-mile run. As it evolved, the 1-mile event was dropped and a 10K run was added.

Jesica Coleman founded the Color the Skies event in 2005 to benefit the Madera-based Children’s Hospital of Central California.

Ripon Chamber of Commerce took over the event in 2016, changing its name to Soaring Over Ripon. The run benefited the Valley Children’s Hospital, which plans to open a new pediatric specialty care center on Pelandale Avenue in Modesto late this year.