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Food, sports, music and reunions among Fall Festival highlights

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College has much to celebrate at the 36th annual Fall Festival, Oct. 5-8, which will culminate in the inauguration of Barry C. Bartel as the college’s 13th president, on Sunday, Oct. 8.

Fall Festival begins, as it has for the past number of years, with a wide variety of food and live entertainment options at Taste of Newton in downtown Newton on Thursday evening, Oct. 5. Thursday is also the first of three performances of Mark Twain’s “The Diaries of Adam and Eve” by David Birney, at 7:30 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium on the Bethel campus. Or visit Kauffman Museum free with a Fall Festival button and see the new permanent exhibit “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture” (opening Sept. 22).

For play tickets, call (316) 284-5205 or stop by Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Other performances are at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, and 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7. For Kauffman Museum hours, call (316) 283-1612.

Most Fall Festival events take place on Saturday, beginning this year with the Thresher 5K Run, Jog or Walk. In order to have a T-shirt on Oct. 7, register before Sept. 28; call (316) 284-5251. You can also register between 7 and 7:30 a.m. on race day at Thresher Stadium, with the event beginning promptly at 8 a.m.

Food and craft booths as well as exhibits by student, alumni and local organizations will be open beginning at 9 a.m. on and around the campus Green. A service that will be available at the festival for the first time this year is flu shots given by employees of the Harvey County Health Department. These are $25 (cash or check) or covered by Medicare or Medicaid, but you must have your card with you.

Another new event is a children’s choir festival beginning at 11 a.m. in the auditorium of Memorial Hall. The featured choirs are the Newton Community Children’s Choir, directed by Diane Fast (grades 4-9); the Remington Colt Singers from Remington Middle School, directed by Nyla Friesen (grades 4-6); and the Santa Fe Singers from Santa Fe Middle School, Newton, directed by Renae Peters (grades 7-8). There is an admission charge.

The annual Athletic Hall of Fame ceremonies that take place at Fall Festival will include, this year, two volleyball inductees: Barb Anderson Graber, Newton, who coached volleyball from 1973-77, and Lori DeGarmo Mallory ’83, Olathe, a volleyball standout. Because of this, there will be a special volleyball reunion for anyone who played under Graber and/or Diane Sanders Flickner, as well as their friends and relatives. The reunion will start at 1 p.m. in the Athletic Booster Club Conference Room in Goering Hall.

Also being inducted into the Hall of Fame is George Rogers ’69, who was an athlete, coach and athletic director at Bethel. The recognition takes place at 10:30 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium with the official induction ceremony beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Joe W. Goering Field, before the homecoming football game against Southwest Assemblies of God University, which starts at 7.

At halftime of the football game, Bethel students and supporters will try to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for the second year in a row, this time by dribbling mini basketballs on Schmidt Track. The current record stands at 910.

In addition to the children’s choir festival, there will be a wide variety of musical and dance entertainment options on Saturday, including the Goessel High School Brass Choir, Newton’s Azteca Dancers and Lindsborg’s Swedish Folk Dancers, Bethel College jazz and choral groups, Suzuki Strings and dance students from the Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts, the Shoe Scuffers Square Dance Club, based in Hesston, and the Midian Shrine Polka Band, the Polkatz, from Wichita.

Two new musical groups this year are the Tropical Shores Steel Drum Band from Haven (see and the Free Staters, from Wichita and McPherson, who play old-time American music from the mid-19th century (see

Two special art-related events will be a kiln opening at Franz Art Center on campus, where you can see a kiln, handmade by associate professor of art David Long, being opened to reveal wood-fired pottery, and a book signing by Lora Jost ’88 of Lawrence. Jost is the co-author of Kansas Murals: A Traveler’s Guide, documenting more than 600 murals that can be found in Kansas (see The kiln opening is at 10 a.m. and the book signing begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Wordsworth booth near Schultz Student Center.

Another featured performer is juggler Greg Schmittgens, who will perform in the Children’s Park and give a demonstration at 3 p.m. There will be also be other children’s activities, alumni reunions, special interest gatherings, math and science lectures by alumni, and sports events going on throughout the day. For a complete Fall Festival schedule, go to the Bethel College website.

Fall Festival buttons, which entitle you to free or reduced admission to many Fall Festival special events, are $2 for adults and $1 for children. They may be purchased at Kauffman Museum, Thresher Bookstore or the Kidron Bethel activities office or when entering the campus on Saturday.

Fall Festival activities continue on Sunday, Oct. 8, with a worship service beginning at 10 a.m. and inauguration ceremonies at 2:30 p.m., both in Memorial Hall. There is a meet-the-president reception for Barry and Brenda Bartel on Saturday afternoon from 1:30-3 p.m. in the lounge in the northeast corner of the Administration Building ground floor. The public is invited to this event and to all inauguration activities on Sunday, including the reception on the Green (Schultz Student Center if rain) after the inauguration ceremonies.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel web site at

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