MATTOON — The MHS Huddle has been painting business windows throughout town in preparation for the Mattoon High School varsity football team’s first home game of the season Friday evening.
More than two dozen volunteers with this nonprofit booster club gathered Sunday evening at Heritage Park to pick up their paint supplies and then spread out to decorate the front windows of several offices and shops downtown.
Club member Deneille Trier said MHS Huddle began its annual Paint the Town program several years ago as a way for the community to show support for Green Wave football. She said the decorations in green, gold and other colors stay up for the duration of each season.
“I think it’s really encouraging. I think it’s very good for the boys and their morale,” Trier said. Her son, senior Slater Trier, is a quarterback on the team.
Window decorations also help remind the general public that the football season is underway, Trier said.
The varsity team is scheduled to play its first home game of the season at 7 p.m. Friday against Richland County High School at Gaines Field. The junior varsity team, which has already played a home game, will take on Richland during an away game at 6 p.m. Monday.
Trier said Paint the Town has received a lot of energetic support over the years from downtown merchants, with La Luna Mexican Restaurant being a new addition this year.
Businesses from other sections of town take part, as well. Trier said businesses such as the Breakroom Bar & Grill, El Vaquero and Washington Savings Bank from throughout Mattoon had brought the total number of participating locations to 27 by Sunday evening.
“We are always looking for more windows,” Trier said. Interested businesses can reach out to MHS Huddle members or contact the group through its page on Facebook.
Trier said Mattoon High School cheerleaders turn out every year to help with Paint the Town day, adding that she was glad to see 15-20 junior varsity and varsity cheer team members helping Sunday evening.
The volunteers also included MHS Huddle members Bryan and Brandy Gass. Their son, sophomore Clayton Gass, is part of the Green Wave football program.
Brandy Gass said she loves putting her cake decorating experience to work designing window decorations and being part of a group that raises money for the football program. She said this fundraising helps with the team’s needs, such as additional safety equipment.
“As a parent, that is important for me,” Gass said Sunday while helping paint the front windows of a First Mid Bank & Trust facility along Charleston Avenue.
New volunteer Kaeshia Board said she was recruited for her first “Paint the Town” by Trier and was glad to help, as she assisted with the windows at Sapphire Salon & Spa on Sunday.
Board said she has been impressed to learn that the MHS Huddle works with donors and sponsors to help with meal, transportation, and other needs for the Green Wave.
“It’s fantastic. They do a lot of stuff I wasn’t even aware of for the football team,” Board said.
Photos: 2023 Mattoon High School Senior Parade
Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @TheRobStroud
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