Paint the downtown red with Ball State football
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, IN - Chirp! Chirp! went downtown Muncie around noon Tuesday when dozens of red shirted Ball State University football players cruised up and down Walnut Street in search of fun.
Jahwan Edwards, a running back from North Carolina, was encouraging his teammates to strike a pose like Madonna sings in front of Munseetown Square just down from Canan Commons where BSU was having one of their Paint the Town Red promotions.
Edwards came to the Midwest to play football and liked the help he got from Coach Pete Lembo and his staff with athletics besides education. He also wanted to reach out to the Muncie community and help build support for the football program besides giving to others in need. The team also was making a stop at the south Muncie Visitors Bureau and then on to the Indianapolis Colts training camp in Anderson Tuesday night to see quarterback Andrew Luck, running back Reggie Wayne and linemen Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
A handful of underclass players like Edwards will be key to BSU's success this season after finishing a split 6-6 last year Edwards pointed out how experience was returning to the offensive line while coaches talked about junior quarterback Keith Wenning and how the offense might be a little more sophisticated.
The key to getting community support is to go to the people, according to Myers and get them excited about a winning football program.
More than 100 people showed up for free food and to talk with the football team, according to sports marketing director Molly Myers, with another event at the south Muncie Visitors Bureau Tuesday night that duplicated the promotion .
It's part of the downtown effort to get more events and activities at the new Canan Commons that is a $2 million investment in parks and entertainment downtown. Just a look across the street tells what public development does. The walls already are up on the new Muncie Music Center being built next to the Muncie YMCA and facing Canan Commons.
Cheryl Crowder, downtown event coordinator has a red top showing her support for BSU football. It's been a promotion in recent years that helps kick off the season that will be Aug. 30 at Eastern Michigan.
Crowder also promoted the upcoming event with Naptown Strutters that will play at Canan Commons on Saturday night along with a movie. And the yearly Muncie Ribfest come on Aug. 25-26 to round out summer fun before Labor Day.
And there will be a big 20th anniversary of Doc's Music Hall on Friday when Doc. Peterson and some of the old Walking Catfish band play at Freaky Fridays across the street. Doc's has been the standard in live music and is still the place where it happens any given night and especially on Fridays when Doc, Phil Dunn and others play.