Dress rehearsals in the area are known as "Nikki Night" for a reason.

During the 46 and a half years Nikki Patrick has been a reporter at The Morning Sun, she has attended almost every dress rehearsal and reviewed almost every play, and her Monday visit to a dress rehearsal for "Steel Magnolias," which runs this week, was no exception.

However, she was asked to return on opening night, where members of the area theater community and the community at large took the opportunity to formally express their appreciation for her.

Monica Murnan, president of the Pittsburg City Council, proclaimed Aug. 28, 2013 as Nikki Patrick Day in Pittsburg and called on citizens to recognize her dedication and service to the community.

Murnan noted that since Jan. 8, 1967, Patrick has been a main source of information for arts in Pittsburg, has covered many events for Pittsburg Parks and Recreation, has for years created and written the Patrick’s People section of The Morning Sun and has been the arts and entertainment correspondent covering productions at all levels.

Judy Westhoff, co-president of the Pittsburg Community Theater, then presented Patrick with an ornamental piece of glass engraved with a statement of the community’s appreciation for her dedication to performing arts.

"We want to recognize you tonight for everything you have done for us," Westhoff said. "It’s been many, many years and you have continued to support the Pittsburg community theater as well as the other schools in the area and you have done so much for the arts of this area."

Jason Huffman, manager of Memorial Auditorium continued honoring Patrick.

" And on behalf of the City of Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium and Pittsburg Parks and Recreation, we are also going to rename the green room the "Nikki Patrick Green Room," he said, earning enthusiastic applause from the audience. "We have this plaque that will be installed outside the green room and it says, ‘In heartfelt appreciation of your dedication and support to performing arts in Southeast Kansas.’"

Patrick said she just feels blessed to enjoy the work she does.

"I really enjoy what I do," she said. "I love going to plays."

She said theater is just a part of who she is and what she enjoys

"Theater has always been a very important and very enjoyable part of my life," Patrick said.

She and her husband, Steven Teller, met when he taught a seminar on the works of Marlowe and Jonson, their first date was a televised production of "The Duchess of Malfi," and Patrick took their son, Jamie, to his first play when he was 10 days old."

"To be honored for doing something I enjoy so much - you might as well honor me for eating chocolate," Patrick said.

Andrew Nash, managing editor of The Morning Sun, said the honor is fitting and appropriate, given the work Patrick does.

"Nikki has given everyone — from the smallest children to the grandest stars — an ear to listen, a place to share their story and a pen ready to write," Nash said. " Her devotion to the arts has been apparent throughout the years. It is fitting to see the green room be renamed in her honor, as she has always made anyone who takes the stage feel honored and welcome."