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Event allows town, campus to make colorful impression
Since 2006, businesses and organizations across the community and on campus have participated in Paint the Town Red. (File photo)

Event allows town, campus to make colorful impression

From one end of town to the other, crimson and gold and a lot of gorillas will begin popping up in coming days. The transformation signifies businesses and organizations are gearing up for an annual tradition that's garnered national attention: Paint the Town Red. 

Pittsburg State University’s Office of Alumni & Constituent Relations joined with the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce in 2006 to initiate Paint the Town Red, and it's grown ever since. 

Held each September in the week leading up to PSU’s first home football game, the event calls for creating eye-catching displays in support of the Gorillas. Local businesses and on-campus organizations are encouraged to decorate their storefronts and offices in PSU colors, with prizes awarded to the best displays in several categories. 

Chamber Director Blake Benson said prospective businesses looking at Pittsburg want to know that our various institutions are working together. 

"In this case, the Chamber, the business community, and Pittsburg State," he said. "There isn't a clearer example of that cooperation than Paint the Town Red. From an aesthetic standpoint, it also ensures that our community makes a great first impression for new students and their families." 

Jon Bartlow, director of Alumni & Constituent Relations, said it also makes an impression on alumni, friends, and prospective students come into town during the week leading up to the home opener, "the pride we all have in our community and university is incredibly evident." 

"My hope is that this makes visitors feel excited and welcomed to our community and in some cases, it makes them strongly consider coming coming to school at Pittsburg State or moving back to the place they called 'home' during their time here as a college student," Bartlow said. 

It didn’t take long before the cooperative effort gained national attention; in 2008, the National Collegiate Athletic Association highlighted it as a model event for Division II universities looking to strengthen relationships with their home communities. 

The NCAA even included Paint the Town Red in a promotional DVD that was sent to universities across the nation. 

"Those of us who live in this community understand what a special place it is and Paint the Town Red helps to illustrate this fact to our out-of-town visitors," Bartlow said.  

The week includes: 

Tuesday, Sept. 5:  

Paint the Town Red Week kicks off as businesses as well as campus offices and organizations begin decorating in hopes of winning the annual contest. 

Thursday, Sept. 7:  

All morning, judges will be fanning out across campus to judge the Paint the Town Red Campus Decorating Contest.  

At noon, Community Favorite Award voting opens at www.PittsburgAreaChamber.org 

At 6 p.m., a Community Pep Rally will be held at the Robert W. Plaster Center on the PSU Campus, with free pizza compliments of Pizza Hut. 

Friday, Sept. 8: 

All morning, judges will be fanning out across town to judge the Paint the Town Red Business Decorating Contest. 

At noon, Community Favorite Award voting closes at www.PittsburgAreaChamber.org 

At 1:30 p.m., PSU athletes will hold an autograph session at Carnie Smith Stadium. 

At 2 p.m., an official bubble launch will be held on Brandenburg Field. 

At 6 p.m., the Paint the Town Red Block Party gets underway on Broadway from Fourth to Sixth streets, with music, games, food, and a performance by the finalists for the Pittsburg Song Search. 

At 6:30 p.m., A Kids Fun Run will be held downtown, free to participants. For registration, visit www.PittsburgAreaChamber.com or call 620-231-1000. 

Saturday, Sept. 9: 

At 8 a.m., the PTTR 5K Run begins, with the starting and finish line at Carnie Smith Stadium. For registration, visit www.PittsburgAreaChamber.com or call 620-231-1000. 

At 7 p.m., the first home game of the season kicks off at Carnie Smith Stadium, with PSU hosting Central Oklahoma. 

-- Pitt --

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