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Ad Building will star at 38th annual Fall Festival

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – A birthday party for the Administration Building and the world premiere of a new documentary are some of the events on tap for Bethel College’s 38th annual Fall Festival, Oct. 2-6 with most events Saturday, Oct. 4, on campus.

Fall Festival’s traditional beginning is Taste of Newton downtown on Thursday evening, Oct. 2, featuring all kinds of food and live entertainment (note changes from previously printed schedule: Ultimate Martial Arts in place of Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts; Sound of the Heartland Chorus in place of Newton High School Jazz II). Also on Thursday, between 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., a Fall Festival button will admit you free to Kauffman Museum, where the special exhibit “Pathways of Tradition: Native American Footwear, 1860-1930” opens that day. Hours are the same Friday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 4. The museum is open Sunday from 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Protection Program, a farce by Bethel graduate Aaron Christopher, Minneapolis, Minn., will be on the Krehbiel Auditorium stage Friday night as well as Saturday and Sunday afternoons, 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 College students and 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 before each performance.

Saturday morning events begin with the Thresher 5K Run, Jog or Walk, with the starter gun going at 7:45 a.m. (note earlier time than past years) on Schmidt Track in Thresher Stadium. If you are not pre-registered, you can register on race day between 7 and 7:30 in the stadium.

Several events throughout the day mark 120 years of the Bethel College landmark, the Ad Building, the cornerstone for which was laid Oct. 12, 1888. From 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center lobby, there will be a special exhibit of Ad Building memorabilia, including photographs, postcards and souvenirs featuring the building, along with wedding photos of couples who were married in the chapel. Anyone is invited to record an Ad Building memory between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the basement of the building (room in northeast corner).

At 1 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium (repeated Sunday evening, Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m.), Bethel Professor Emeritus of Art Bob Regier and Professor Emeritus of History Keith Sprunger will present an audiovisual collaboration on the history and architecture of the Ad Building, followed at 2 p.m. by a birthday party, with refreshments, on the college Green. Admission to both events is free.

The first showing of the documentary Through the Desert Goes Our Journey is at 9 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium (repeated Monday, Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m.), produced and directed by Walter Ratliff, Herndon, Va., with assistance from Bethel graduate Jesse Nathan. The documentary tells the story of a Mennonite migration from Russia to central Asia, 1880-84, as well as the recovery of the story by a Mennonite tour group in 2007. Tickets (reduced with Fall Festival button) are available at Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center, 316-284-5205, or at the Fine Arts Center ticket booth before each showing. Ratliff will discuss the making of Through the Desert Goes Our Journey at 4 p.m. in the Kauffman Museum auditorium.

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. The Fine Arts Center Gallery will have special Saturday hours for an exhibit of artwork by Bethel graduate Chris Janzen, Fresno, Calif. The exhibit’s opening reception, with the artist present, is from 2:30-4:30 p.m. outside the gallery.

At 11 a.m. in the auditorium of Memorial Hall, the Newton Community Children’s Choir, Elbiata Singers of Goessel High School and Maize South Middle School Singers will give a joint concert. The choirs are directed by Bethel alumni: Brenda Bartel, Greg Bontrager and Karen Graber Sims. There is an admission charge (reduced with Fall Festival button).

Free music performances scheduled to take place on or near the campus Green are by the Schniggle-Fritz German Band; the acoustic/folk quartet The Book of Jebb; Bethel College vocal and jazz instrumental groups; and the Hesston High School Jazz Band. There will also be a hymn sing on Centennial Plaza open to all.

The annual Athletic Hall of Fame inductees this year are women’s basketball standout Deann (Dick) Huxman, Moundridge, and the 1975 Thresher football team. The recognition ceremony 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 Bethany College, which starts at 7.

Other sports events include Bethel varsity volleyball vs. University of St. Mary on Thursday evening and women’s and men’s soccer vs. Friends University on Saturday.

Other entertainment options on campus Saturday include the perennial favorite children’s park; Beatrice, Neb., storyteller Debbie (Penner) Goossen, performing as “Mother Goossen”; the Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts Suzuki Strings and dance program; juggling by Greg Schmittgens; Newton’s Azteca Dancers; the Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers; and old-fashioned children’s games at Kauffman Museum. The museum will also feature three special programs throughout the day by Bethel alumni, on oil drilling and conservation in Alaska; the Tumacácori (Ariz.) Mission; and the katydids of central Kansas.

For more details and a complete Fall Festival schedule, go to 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 at Kauffman Museum, Thresher Bookstore or the Kidron Bethel activities office or at five campus entrances on Saturday.

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 was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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