The town is painted red …

The town is painted red …
Jack Overman has the troops fired up …
Players have been chomping on the bit for weeks …
It’s opening weekend in Crawford County, THE Football Capital of Kansas.
Need proof?
Saturday is all the evidence one needs.
 
Kansas travel and tourism notes
Random notes from the Kansas Travel and Tourism Industry:
• The Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau recently became the sixth organization from Kansas to join the National Association of Sports Commissions. Other Kansas members include AAU, USSSA, the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Overland Park Sports Alliance and the Topeka Shawnee County Sports Council.
• The Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway earned an award during the recent National Scenic Byways Conference in Denver. The Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway, a 76-mile scenic drive located on a winding route between Hoisington and St. John in Barton, Reno and Stafford Counties, was honored in the Sharing Success and Honoring Excellence category for planning.
• Some 150 volunteers from across Kansas gathered last Friday to conduct the first planning meeting for Kansas’ 150th year of statehood celebration taking place in 2011. The Kansas Historical Society, which is spearheading the collaboration, will conduct the next meeting at 1 p.m., Nov. 13 at the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka. For more information on participating, contact Mary Madden with the Kansas Historical Society, (785) 272-8681.
• The Painted Byways scratcher game from the Kansas Lottery featuring original Kansas artwork by Kansas artist Stan Herd continues. The art work on the tickets includes scenes Herd painted depicting the nine byways, including the Frontier Military Scenic Byway stretching from Leavenworth through Crawford County and down to Baxter Springs. The $2 tickets are available at 1,800 Kansas Lottery retailers in the state. Non-winning tickets can be entered to win one of the nine original Stan Herd paintings during a drawing held on Nov. 13, 2009. For more information, log onto www.kslottery.com.
• Information about the 2009 Kansas Tourism Conference, scheduled for Oct. 18-20 in Overland Park continues to leak out. An insider told this travel column earlier this week the Monday luncheon will include a special presentation dubbed “Community Engagement: Relevance and Economic Impact” dealing with how to remind a community (or county) of the importance of the travel and tourism industry and what it means to the quality of life for its citizens.
 
BASS Pro at Big Hill Lake
Brent Chapman, a BASS Elite Series angler, will appear at the District 58 American Bass Anglers tournament this Saturday and Sunday at Big Hill Lake.
The appearance by Chapman, a nine-time Bassmasters Classic qualifier, was scheduled as part of a sponsorship agreement with Chapman and the Greater Labette County Office of Tourism.
Chapman is native of Lake Quivira, Kan.
Some 40 anglers are expected to participate in the final District 58 tournament of the 2009 schedule.
District 58 will award the Angler of the Year and Regional Angler of the Year following the results of the two-day tournament and will be awarded at Sunday’s weigh-in.
For more information, contact the Greater Labette County Office of Tourism at (620) 431-7010.
 
Little Balkans Days reminder
Reminder: Little Balkans Days starts one week from today.
If you have not purchased buttons or train ride tickets for the 25th annual Little Balkans Days Festival, you had better move fast.
Buttons for the 25th anniversary are $4 and include admission to Little Balkans Days Quilt Show and the Saturday’s matinee performance of “Club 503: A 1940’s Musical Revue” presented by Pittsburg Community Theatre.
Train ride tickets are $5 per person or a family pack (two adults, three children) for $15 for Saturday’s train rides departing at 9 a.m. and again at 11 a.m. from the intersection of Elm and Monroe. Train rides are limited to 240 per ride.
Sunday’s special extended train ride from the intersection of Elm and Monroe to the Carona Depot and Railroad Museum includes a fried chicken picnic at the Carona Depot. Tickets are $20 for the Sunday Chicken Train Ride and are limited to 120 tickets.
To purchase buttons or tickets, or to secure a brochure with the complete schedule of events, stop by the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, 117 West Fourth Street, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
 
Upcoming events
Opening weekend of football season, enough said.
Here are a few other activities and events scheduled to take place this weekend and on into next week, get out and enjoy:
• Today and Saturday, events continue for Paint the Town Red Weekend as the Pittsburg State University Gorillas prepare to open the season at home against Central Oklahoma. Today’s events include Paint the Town Red Judging all day, the Paint the Town Red Balloon launch at Carnie Smith Stadium at 2 p.m. and the PSU Office of Alumni and Constituent Relations will present the Disney movie “Up” on the Jungletron at Carnie Smith Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday events include a 5K run, tailgate parties and the entire Game Day Atmosphere at Gorilla Village leading up to kickoff of the 2009 season against Central Oklahoma at 7 p.m. For more information on Paint the Town Red, contact the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce at (620) 231-1000.
• Starting Wednesday and continuing through next Friday, Pittsburg Community Theatre will present “Club 503: A 1940’s Musical Revue.” Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, performances are at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium. For more information, contact Memorial Auditorium at (620) 231-7827 or log onto www.memorialauditorium.org.
 
Craig Hull is the director of the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau. It is the purpose of the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote travel and tourism in Crawford County, Southeast Kansas and the Midwest. He can be reached at chull@pittsburgareachamber.com or at 1-800-879-1112.