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Riverbank Girl Ambassador For Ripon Balloon Festival
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Bring your family and friends and enjoy the largest hot air balloon festival in Central California!  The 7th annual Color the Skies festival takes to the skies this Labor Day weekend, Sept.1-2, in Ripon.  In a breathtaking ascent, the sky will fill with the color of 20 balloons during the carnival-like festival that donates all proceeds to Children’s Hospital Central California.

Festival activities include a pancake breakfast, tethered hot air balloon rides, a kite flying demonstration, a 1-mile and 5k race, children’s fun run, skydiving exhibitions, hot dog or chicken lunch, carnival rides, and more.  Entry to the festival is free and there is a $5 donation for parking at the park.

The Color the Skies hot air balloon festival was founded in 2006 by Greg and Jessica Coleman to bring awareness and build financial support for the Children’s Hospital Central California--the region’s only children’s hospital.  “My family is blessed that we have not needed the amazing care that is available at CHCC but I am grateful that we have access to such excellent facilities,” says Jessica Coleman. “As a parent, I am comforted that that we this level of care available for children who are in need.”

Nine-year-old Bella Gardette of Riverbank has been selected as the patient ambassador for the Color the Skies Balloon Festival.  Bella is being treated for DiGeorge syndrome, a rare chromosomal disorder that occurs in one of every 3,000 to 4,000 live births that causes small stature among a number of complications. Bella receives treatment at the Hospital’s Modesto Pediatric Subspecialty Center as well as at the main campus in Madera.

As the official patient ambassador for Color the Skies, Bella will take part in activities before and during the festival, and will enjoy a ride in one of the festival’s hot air balloons.

For a festival schedule, map and directions to the event, and more information go to .