NORTH NEWTON, KAN. -- This year’s Fall Festival celebrates 35 years of tradition with the lots of local musical talent, a wide variety of children’s activities and especially sports-related events, as Bethel College dedicates its new sports complex on Saturday, Oct. 1. Fall Festival begins with Taste of Newton downtown on Thursday evening, Sept. 29, and ends Oct. 2 with the Sunday afternoon performance of the Fall Festival musical, "The Fantasticks," with most events taking place on Saturday.
Two alumni events that occur on Friday are the Nursing Alumni Banquet and an African-American Alumni Association reunion. Call (316) 284-5308 to reserve tickets for the nursing event. For more information about the AAAA reunion, call Hope Lee at (972) 522-0429.
Also on Friday, from 8-10:30 p.m., there will be a soccer match on the new Joe W. Goering Field between the Thresher varsity team and soccer alumni.
On Saturday morning, the Thresher 5K Run, Jog or Walk returns after a one-year absence. Registration is at 7 a.m. on Franz Plaza, the entryway to the new sports complex.
Dedication of the complex is at Thresher Stadium and Joe W. Goering Field at 9:30 a.m. A reception follows on Franz Plaza at 10, and the sports complex will be open to the public until noon.
Football reunions will run beginning at 10:30 a.m. The first is for the 1995-2005 teams, who played under current coach Mike Moore or George Papageourgiou. At 11 a.m., those who played under Kent Rogers, 1979-1994, will meet; at 1 p.m., those who played between 1972-78, under Jim Corns or Jim Paramore; and at 1:30, those who played 1960-71, under Wesley Buller, Eugene Reusser, Otto Unruh or Lee Cissell. Finally, a reunion of football players and coaches from 1914-1959 begins at 2.
All football reunions will take place in the tent north of the Administration Building. Families of players and Athletic Booster Club members are also invited.
Other sports events during the day include women’s soccer vs. Oklahoma Wesleyan at 11 a.m., men’s soccer vs. Oklahoma Wesleyan at 1 p.m., Ultimate® Frisbee® on the soccer practice field starting at 3:30 p.m., and a soccer reunion in the Matt Westerman Memorial Room in newly renovated Goering Hall, at 4 p.m.
At 2 p.m. on Centennial Plaza, Joshua Bartel, Augusta, will demonstrate the skills that have made him an international table tennis champion. Bartel, who grew up in Goessel and who has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), has represented the United States in the Para-Pan Am Games, World Championships and Paralympics, winning a bronze medal in Sydney, Australia, in 2000.
The Thresher Tailgate Barbeque begins at 5 p.m. west of the tennis courts. Sports complex gates open at 5:30. At 6:30 is a special pre-game recognition ceremony for football players from 1915 to the present, soccer alumni and all current Bethel sports teams. The homecoming football game vs. Sterling College starts at 7.
Musical offerings during the day include the Hesston High School Jazz Band; the Trash Cats (novelty percussion) and Steel Drum Band from Haven High School; Bethel College’s men’s a cappella group Open Road performing with the Newton Community Children’s Choir and the Suzuki Strings; the Possum Boys, bluegrass musicians from Goessel, Newton and Peabody; the City of McPherson Pipe Band; Bethel College vocal and jazz groups; On with the Show, a vocal quartet of local Bethel alumni that performs Broadway and movie tunes; and the Tom and Lois Harder family from Wichita.
Children can do art activities at a Peace Fair for All Ages and at workshops led by Bethel students and professor of art Gail Lutsch, make their own "K is for Kansas" block and play old-fashioned games at Kauffman Museum, or enjoy the Children’s Park near the Fine Arts Center.
As always, a variety of ethnic and international food and Kansas crafts will be for sale in tents and booths around the Bethel College Green. Two special items at the Bethel College Women’s Association Market on the Green this year are a Lithuanian Candle House replica of Goerz House and collapsible stadium seats featuring the Bethel College legacy mark.
Four performances of "The Fantasticks," the longest running musical in the world, take place during Fall Festival weekend. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. They are expected to be sellouts, so buy tickets early by calling the Thresher Ticket Line at (316) 284-5205 or by stopping by the Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center, Monday-Friday between 8 and 5. Tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for non-Bethel students and adults age 65 and older and $6.50 for children age 3-12.
For a complete schedule of Fall Festival events, along with times and locations, call the Office of Alumni Relations at (316) 284-5251, or go to http://www.bethelks.edu/alumni/fallfest.