September 1, 2011 — EVANSTON, ILL. — For the second straight year, Northwestern and the Evanston community will be working to "Paint Evanston Purple" in the week leading up to Evanston Day at at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10.
In anticipation of Northwestern's home opener against Eastern Illinois, a pep rally encouraging the community to "Paint Evanston Purple" will be held Thursday, Sept. 8, at Independence Park on Central Street (one mile west of Ryan Field). The pep rally is scheduled to last from 6-7 p.m. The Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band will perform, and the Wildcat football team will be on hand along with several leaders in the community, including Evanston mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, Northwestern president Morton Schapiro, NU director of athletics and recreation Jim Phillips and head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
"Last year, I had a great time at the pep rally and the game," Mayor Tisdahl said. "I am excited to see all the Evanston residents coming out to show their support for the Wildcats on Evanston Day at Ryan Field. I am proud to see our community work together."
Fans and residents attending the pep rally are encouraged to wear purple as select businesses will be offering promotions to individuals sporting the Northwestern-specific color. Northwestern apparel also will be available for purchase at the pep rally courtesy of Let's Tailgate.
This year's week-long celebration has taken on an additional component as a group of NU football players will be partnering with area schools to read and play with the students while also educating them on the responsibilities that go with being a Division I student-athlete.
"Evanston Day is a great way for Northwestern and the Evanston community to come together and celebrate our family and do it around a party, in this case a football game," Fitzgerald said. "Whether it's having our student athletes visit local schools to read to the kids or entertaining them on game day, we look forward to giving back to those who are most generous to us, the Evanstonians. Hopefully, they have a lot of fun."
Gameday festivities on Sept. 10 begin two hours before kickoff with the return of Wildcat Alley, located adjacent to Ryan Field. The family-fun zone offers a range of activities including face painting, games, appearances by the marching band, food and much more. After the game, attendees will be able to use their ticket stub to take advantage of the promotions being offered by select businesses.
Evanston residents can purchase half-price end zone tickets to the Eastern Illinois game online through the NU ticket office with the promotion code "purple." For more information, call the ticket office at 1-888-GO-PURPLE.
—Northwestern University Athletics, with additional reporting by Daniel M. Reck (GSESP08).