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47th annual festival celebrates fall at Bethel

April 16th, 2018

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Fall Festival at Bethel College is chock-full of sports, arts and crafts, music, good food and a lot of visiting.

Most events take place Oct. 14 on campus, and most are free and open to the public.

As usual, however, Fall Festival kicks off with Taste of Newton downtown, Oct. 12 from 6-9 p.m., featuring a wide variety of food from local restaurants and church and civic groups, plus live entertainment, including Bethel jazz groups, Azteca Dancers, the Newton Railiners and other local musicians and dancers.

Sept. 13 is the 11th annual STEM Symposium, this year focused primarily on using computing in science and health.

The symposium begins at 1 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center with Allison Regier, St. Louis, on “Writing Code to Decode Human Genomes,” followed by Stuart Isaac, Madison, Wisconsin, with “Clinical Intelligence: Using Data to Improve Health-Care Decisions,” at 2 p.m.

A 3 p.m. panel discussion adds Brian Stucky, Gainesville, Florida, with the three alumni talking and answering questions about careers and career paths in STEM fields. Stucky speaks in convocation Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium about his work in bioinformatics with emphasis in biodiversity, and again at 9 a.m. Oct. 14 in the chapel.

Bethel Professor of Art David Long, whose show “Exhibit A,” new and recent ceramics pieces, opens Oct. 6 in the Regier Art Gallery, will be honored with an artist reception Oct. 13 from 6-8 p.m. outside the gallery in Luyken Fine Arts Center.

The Fall Festival theater production this year is the beloved musical Godspell, based on the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak.

The first performance is Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. with additional shows Oct. 14, 3:30 p.m., and Oct. 15, 2 p.m., all in Krehbiel Auditorium. Tickets are on sale at Thresher Shop in Schultz Student Center during regular business hours or starting at least an hour before each performance, subject to availability, in the Luyken Fine Arts Center ticket office.

On Oct. 14, Fall Festival Fair Day, food and craft booths as well as exhibits by student, alumni and local organizations open beginning at 9 a.m. on and around the Green.

Before that, Kauffman Museum’s monthly bird walk (usually on the first Saturday) starts at 7:45 a.m. in the museum parking lot. Experienced local birders Gregg Friesen and Rod Wedel will lead a walk of an hour to an hour-and-a-half through Chisholm Park (paved) and on Sand Creek Trail (wood-chip).

The Bethel College Women’s Association’s “Market in the Round” inside Luyken Fine Arts Center offers baked goods, crafts and special Bethel College items for sale. Outside will be places to buy New Year’s cookies, homemade pie by the slice, beef borscht and zwiebach, with all proceeds benefiting Bethel.

On the outdoor Prairie Sky Stage (Memorial Hall if rain) are student readings and a sneak preview of the Bethel literary magazine YAWP! fall issue, 9-9:20 a.m.; Bethel a cappella ensembles Open Road (men), 9:30-9:50 a.m., and Woven (women), 10-10:20 a.m.; Newton Community Children’s Choir, 10:30-10:50 a.m.; the 8th annual Jazzfest, featuring local high school groups from Newton and Hesston, Bethel jazz ensembles and jazz faculty, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; and Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts (BCAPA) students, 2-3 p.m.

The biennial Low German program takes place at 10 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium. A freewill offering will be taken to support Bethel College.

Bethel’s steel drum band, directed by Brad Shores, will play on Centennial Plaza at 11 a.m.

Participatory music includes Kindermusik at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. (for children age 2-5 with an adult caregiver) in the Friesen-Neufeld Discovery Room in the Memorial Hall basement, and a hymn sing with the Bethel College Alumni Choir at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary of Bethel College Mennonite Church.

Kauffman Museum will be highlighting its current special exhibit, “Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness in the Great War,” with a special program at 2 p.m. in the museum auditorium.

Bethel’s emeritus historians, Jim Juhnke and Keith Sprunger, are organizing a panel comprised of students from the 1970s who participated in the Schowalter Oral History Project, interviewing conscientious objectors from World War I.

Fall Festival museum hours are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sun., with free admission throughout.

BCAPA is sponsoring the 4th Dart for Art fundraiser to support arts education. The 2-mile fun run/jog/walk starts in the Thresher Sports Complex at 9:30 a.m. Registration forms are available in Mojo’s and Thresher Shop, both in Schultz Student Center, or call BCAPA at 316-283-4902, e-mail

Athletic events on campus include women’s soccer at noon and men’s soccer at 2:30 p.m., both vs. Kansas Wesleyan, and the homecoming football game, which pits Bethel against Saint Mary, at 7 p.m.

Bethel student-athletes and Booster Club Hall of Fame inductees (track stand-outs Kendra Doyle and Eric Peters, and football record-holder Brent Martens) will be recognized at 6:30 p.m., right before the game, on Joe W. Goering Field, and the homecoming king and queen crowned at halftime.

The popular Children’s Park, sponsored this year by Midway Motors, will again be just north of the Ad Building, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Jerry Toews, Goessel, will have his restored band organ from the late 1800s parked nearby, with performances taking place throughout the day.

For more details and a complete Fall Festival schedule, go to You can view and print a festival program at this site.

Bethel College ranks at No. 1 in College Consensus’ ranking of Kansas colleges and universities, and is the only Kansas private college listed in the analysis of top colleges and universities, the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, all for 2017-18. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

Bethel College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation, parental or marital status, gender identity, gender expression, medical or genetic information, ethnic or national origins, citizenship status, veteran or military status or disability. E-mail questions to

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.