NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College is turning 125 in 2012 and though there will be special events throughout the year, the bulk of them happen during the 42nd annual Fall Festival, Oct. 10-14 this year.
Although the first major event is Taste of Newton downtown, Thursday, Oct. 11, with all kinds of food plus live entertainment, the official invitation starts with Wednesday, Oct. 10, to see some special visual displays.
Schultz Student Center underwent major renovation this past summer. New photo galleries in the main hall between the bookstore and the cafeteria include a photo retrospective of Bethel’s history and an Alumni Spotlight wall, a rotating display that will feature five alumni at a time.
Mojo’s, the coffee shop in Bubbert’s, will have an alumni art show hanging during Fall Festival and is still open to submissions -- contact Mojo's owner Patty Meier.
A special exhibit will already be open in the Fine Arts Center Gallery, featuring work by eight former and current Bethel art faculty – among them Rachel Epp Buller and Gail Lutsch of Newton, Bob Regier of North Newton, Paul Friesen of Hesston and David Long of Wichita. A reception for the eight artists is Friday, Oct. 12, 6-8 p.m., outside the gallery.
Kauffman Museum’s special exhibit will be open as well. The curator of “Threshing Stone: Mennonite Artifact and Icon” is Glen Ediger of North Newton, who has spent several years researching and photographing threshing stones around the world, though most are right in south central Kansas.
Friday, in addition to the artists’ reception and the opening performance of “The Secret Garden,” convocation will take place in the Entertainment Tent on the Green at 11 a.m., featuring Bethel alumna Roz Royster McCommon, a professional singer from Tonganoxie.
The 6th annual STEM Symposium begins Friday at 1 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium, this year honoring biology and Professor Emeritus of Biology A. Wayne Wiens. Alumni speakers are Cheryl Stucky, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and Bruce Buhr, M.D., Wichita, on Friday, and Kristi Neufeld, University of Kansas, on Saturday (keynote, in the Ad Building chapel). All lectures are free and open to the public.
The first full-length history of Bethel College to be published since 1954, Bethel College of Kansas, 1887-2012 by Keith Sprunger, Bethel professor emeritus of history, goes on sale in Thresher Bookstore on campus Monday, Oct. 8. Saturday, Oct. 13, Sprunger will be signing books from 9:30-11:30 a.m. in the new First Bank Conference Room in Schultz Student Center.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, Sprunger will speak in the Administration Building chapel about the primary and secondary sources he used to compile the history. This will be followed by a reception for Sprunger in The Meeting Place on the ground floor of the Ad Building.
There will be other book-signings happening during Fall Festival. Ediger will sign Leave No Threshing Stone Unturned, the book that came from his threshing stone project, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the museum. From 10:30 a.m.-noon, also in the museum, Corinna Siebert Ruth, Reedley, Calif., and B. Lois Thieszen Preheim, Newton, will sign books they published in the last year that pertain to Henderson, Neb.
Saturday, Oct. 13, is Fall Festival Fair Day, when most activities take place on the Bethel campus, including perennial favorites Market on the Green, sponsored by the Bethel College Women’s Association (BCWA); the Children’s Park; Jazzfest featuring Bethel College and local high school jazz musicians; Moozie® the Cow; and various music and dance performances by children of all ages.
A special BCWA activity is “Paint on the Slate!” Using pieces of slate salvaged from the old Science Hall roof and with help and supplies from BCWA members, participants can create their own memento to take home.
That same former Science Hall, the second-oldest building on campus after the Ad Building, has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation with an addition, and opened for classes this fall as the Academic Center.
There will be a dedication service in the Entertainment Tent on the Green, 9-9:30 a.m., after which the building will be open to the public until noon.
At 9:45 a.m., also in the Entertainment Tent, there will be a special 125th anniversary program, with remarks by Bethel President Perry White, the mayors of Newton and North Newton, and others, music by the Newton Community Children’s Choir and auction of commemorative brass threshing stone #125, the last of the collectibles using pieces of an original limestone step from the Ad Building.
Members of the Bethel Gospel Choir, which sang to packed houses in the 1980s and ’90s, are reuniting for a special concert at Fall Festival, coordinated by Roz Royster McCommon and Greg Hinex of Kansas City. The concert is Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in Memorial Hall.
The annual hymn sing will be incorporated into this event, which also marks the 10th anniversary of Bethel’s African-American Alumni Association, which has a reception from 4-6 p.m. in the lower level of the Academic Center. The public is invited to the concert, hymn sing and reception.
The Fall Festival theater presentation is the beloved family musical The Secret Garden, based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s book and reimagined for the stage by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon. Performances are Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively. Tickets (prices vary, with no discount for Fall Festival button; Bethel students $2 Friday and Saturday and free Sunday; Kidron Bethel residents free with ID) are available at Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center, 316-284-5205, or at the Fine Arts Center ticket booth starting one hour before each performance and subject to availability.
The biennial Schweitzer dialect program takes place at 11 a.m. (rather than the usual 9 a.m. time slot) Saturday in Krehbiel Auditorium. There is an admission charge (reduced with Fall Festival button).
Athletic events and activities include volleyball vs. Southwestern College, Wednesday, Oct. 10, starting at 5:30 p.m. in Thresher Gym; women’s and men’s soccer vs. Southwestern College, Friday, Oct. 12, starting at 1 p.m. on Joe W. Goering Field; and a dunk tank and pitching station, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. near the Green, hosted by the women’s softball team, and Ultimate® Frisbee® at 2 p.m. on the athletic practice field, both on Saturday.
There will also be a guided Sand Creek Trail walk Saturday, starting at the Memorial Grove trailhead at 2 p.m., with trail caretaker and Kansas Master Naturalist Richard Rempel, North Newton.
Instead of the Athletic Hall of Fame recognition ceremony on Saturday morning, this year there will be a fundraising banquet for the Bethel College Athletic Booster Club Friday night, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Schultz Student Center cafeteria. The meal is free, with goodwill donations taken. Bethel student-athletes will be recognized at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, right before the homecoming football game vs. Sterling College, on Joe W. Goering Field.
Food and craft booths as well as exhibits by student, alumni and local organizations open beginning Saturday at 9 a.m. on and around the Green.
The come-and-go reunion of Freeman (S.D.) Academy and Freeman Junior College alumni takes place Saturday, noon-2 p.m., in Room 172 of the Fine Arts Center, and the Buffalo Barbecue begins at 5 p.m. on Centennial Plaza, this year catered by The Water’s Edge restaurant of Hesston. Purchasing BBQ tickets in advance is strongly recommended – at Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center, open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 316-284-5205 (on-site tickets first-come first-served).
For more details and a complete Fall Festival schedule, go to www.bethelks.edu/fallfest. You can view and print a festival program at this site.
Fall Festival buttons, which entitle you to free or reduced admission to several special events, are $3 for adults and $2 for children age 3-12 (under 3 free). Buttons are for sale in advance at Kauffman Museum, Thresher Bookstore or the Kidron Bethel activities office or at four campus entrances on Saturday.
Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the 2012-13 Forbes.com analysis of premier colleges and universities in the United States and ranks in the top five “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2012-13. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.