The Midstate community is invited to welcome back Middle Tennessee State University students Sept. 2-4 during #TrueBlue Weekend, a series of family-friendly events over the Labor Day break that includes great music, the kickoff of Blue Raider football and some good old-fashioned fellowship.
“As a community, this weekend is about more than just a football game or series of community events,” said the Rev. James McCarroll, pastor of First Baptist Church on East Castle Street and chair of MTSU’s Community Engagement Council.
“It is an opportunity for us, as a community, to prove the vast life-giving potential that we have when we decide to come together. By showing communitywide support, we remind one another that it is our togetherness, not our division, that really positions us to do those great things that make a significant difference in the lives of those that exist alongside us. I challenge the entire community to participate.”
Friday Night Live
Things kick off with the free Friday Night Live Concert on Friday, Sept. 2, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on the Square in Murfreesboro’s historic downtown. This edition of the annual summer concert series, presented by Main Street Murfreesboro, features music from The O’Donnells.
“I think people absolutely love the concert series because it offers a very real sense of community,” said Kathleen Herzog, executive director of Main Street Murfreesboro. “What a fun and fantastic way to make the town-and-gown connection on True Blue Weekend!”
Herzog noted that her organization’s collaboration with the university goes back decades. Main Street and MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation also have been partners since 2006 in The Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County on College Street.
For Friday Night Live, many local shops and restaurants will be open to serve the crowd, and a few food vendors will also be on hand for the concertgoers’ convenience, she added.
Ready for MTSU football
#TrueBlue Weekend fun continues the next day, when head coach Rick Stockstill and the Blue Raider football team carry the high expectations of the 2016 season into Floyd Stadium against the Alabama A&M University Bulldogs at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3.
During the game, MTSU will recognize local public servants by naming them as honorary team captains. Honorees will include all of the county and municipal mayors from Rutherford and Bedford counties as well as the leaders of local law enforcement and fire and rescue departments.
Combined music ministries from the First Baptist churches on East Castle and Main Streets will sing the national anthem before the game.
“This weekend is a great opportunity for us to show our appreciation for the tremendous community support for our athletic programs while also saying thank you to some of our dedicated public servants,” said Chris Massaro, director of MT Athletics.
“We’re looking forward to seeing our loyal Blue Raider fans and a host of new ones pack Floyd Stadium to cheer on our team.”
A special $8 group ticket rate for the game is available by calling 615-898-5198 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, don’t miss the details about bag checks and other game-day changes found here.
The weekend wraps up with #TrueBlue Sunday, when area churches are being asked to recognize their MTSU students during their services. Some local churches, such as First Presbyterian Church, already have deep ties to the university through alumni, donors, employees and youth ministries.
First Presbyterian member Bill Shacklett, an MTSU alumnus and a Murfreesboro City Council member, said his church plans a “Raider Rally” breakfast that Sunday in support of the Presbyterian Student Fellowship ministry that has served MTSU students for years.
“I really hope True Blue Weekend becomes an annual tradition,” Shacklett said. “It’s a time to recognize and appreciate the tremendous impact and continued blessing MTSU has been to our community.”
“MTSU’s impact on this community is immeasurable,” added fellow City Councilman and alumnus Ron Washington. “Our city’s growth and increasing quality of life are directly connected to not only the university’s presence, but its willingness to be so actively involved in practically every aspect of our community.”
Dr. Gloria Bonner, assistant to the president in the Office of Community Engagement and Support and key organizer of the weekend’s activities, urges local residents to heed the call.
“Bring your family and your friends. Let us remind the rest of the nation that Murfreesboro is not just another city,” Bonner said. “It’s OUR TOWN. And MTSU is not just a college team in the city, it’s OUR TEAM.”
— Jimmy Hart (email@example.com)