You could see it happening today on Central Street — fire plugs near Northwestern University’s Ryan Field were painted purple.

It’s part of a promotion for a “Paint Evanston Purple” campaign designed to fire up local residents for the Wildcats’ home game against Central Michigan University on Saturday, Sept. 25.

No word yet on whether the new color confuses neighborhood dogs.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl didn’t say at a recent news conference exactly how many fire hydrants would get the new color scheme — but we probably shouldn’t be surprised it they start showing up near the plaza at the Rotary International building on Sherman Avenue downtown — which will be the site of a pre-game pep rally  at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 23.

The pep rally will be emceed by Northwestern football All-American and Evanston resident Mike Adamle. Mayor Tisdahl and NU President Morton Schapiro will be joined by Director of Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips and Wildcat Head Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald.

Fans and residents attending the pep rally are encouraged to wear purple as select businesses will be offering promotions to individuals sporting the NU color. Northwestern t-shirts and Wildcat gear will be available for sale at a booth along Sherman Avenue.

Game Day festivities begin two hours before kickoff at Wildcat Alley, located adjacent to Ryan Field. The family-fun zone will offer a range of activities, including face painting, games, appearances by the marching band, drinks and food. And the city will show off the new fire truck the university recently purchased for Evanston.

Evanston residents can purchase a ticket to the Central Michigan game online at for half price ($17) with the promotion code “purple.” More information is available online.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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