PITTSBURG — You’ll know football season has begun in Pittsburg because it will be covered in crimson and gold. 

Starting next week, Pittsburg businesses will start decorating for the 14th annual Paint the Town Red which includes a business display competition. This years theme is “Gus’ Excellent Adventure.” 

According to a release from the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Paint the Town Red is “one of the most widely anticipated community events” in southeast Kansas. The annual event is a collaboration between the chamber and PSU Office of Alumni & Constituent Relations.

“The collaboration between the City of Pittsburg and PSU for Paint the Town Red is a great example of the partnership we see throughout the year,” Director of Alumni & Constituent Relations Jon Bartlow said in a release from Pittsburg State University. “We understand what's good for PSU is good for our community, and vice versa. 

“Ultimately, we all want to support our students and football team for the home opener we have been waiting for all year!”

The event has also been identified by the NCAA as a model event for other communities looking to engage their Division II universities, the release from the chamber said. 

Last year, over 1,2000 people cast their votes for the Community Favorite Award on the chamber’s website, the release said. Community Favorite voting will take place online on the chamber’s website from noon Thursday through 11 a.m. Friday.

This year, there will be three different business categories along with an on-campus decorating contest. According to a release from PSU, judges will make the rounds on campus to determine a winning office or department on Thursday.  Award winners will be announced live on KSN 16 at noon. Winners will also be presented their award before the football game on the field on Saturday. 

As per usual, there will be a pep rally, but this year the chamber and the university will be doing something new. The annual pep rally will be downtown near Block22. There will be food, music, a variety of games, a bounce house and other family activities

“We’d just really love to see more people come out, not only to our event, but to the game,” said Julie Reams, the chamber’s director of membership and special events. “It’s such a good way to kick off the football season.” 

Want to join in on the fun? 

At 6 p.m., Paint the Town Red Downtown Event will kick off on Broadway between Fourth and Sixth streets. Activities will include music, games, food, and bounce houses. A free Kids Fun Run is planned for 6:30 p.m., with no registration required.

On Saturday, the Paint the Town Red 5K Run will start at Axe Library on campus and finish at Gorilla Village east of Carnie Smith Stadium. At 7 p.m., the Gorillas will play the Emporia State Hornets.

A full schedule of events and contest entry forms are available at the chamber’s website at www.pittsburgareachamber.com. A limited number of official Paint the Town Red t-shirts are available at the chamber office, 117 West Fourth Street.