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“Wild West” history will flavor 40th annual Fall Festival

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – This year’s Fall Festival at Bethel College will have a “Wild West” flavor and it will also include the inauguration of the college’s 14th president.

As Bethel continues a five-year series of special events leading up to its 125th anniversary in 2012, a common thread for 2010 is history of the American West. The 40th annual Fall Festival takes place Oct. 7-10 with most events Saturday, Oct. 9, on campus.

In line with the Wild West theme, there will be a performance by the Prairie Rose Rangers, including Bethel alumnus Orin Friesen, Saturday at 10 a.m.; the traveling exhibit “The Bison: American Icon” at Kauffman Museum, to which admission is free Oct. 7-10 with a Fall Festival button; a presentation at the museum at 11 a.m. Saturday by alumnus Steve Friesen, director of the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave in Golden, Colo., on Buffalo Bill Cody’s connection to Newton and its “Wild West” reputation of the late 1800s; a “Bungee Bull Ride”; and a Saturday evening “Buffalo Barbecue.”

On Sunday morning at 10 a.m. in Memorial Hall, the community is invited to the Fall Festival worship service and the inauguration of Perry D. White as president of Bethel College.

Fall Festival’s traditional beginning is Taste of Newton downtown on Thursday evening, Oct. 7, featuring all kinds of food and live entertainment presented by a wide variety of local groups and organizations. President White and his wife, Dalene, will be at the Bethel College booth from 6-9 p.m. to meet and greet.

The Fall Festival musical is Into the Woods, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, 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 (subject to availability).

Athletic events include volleyball on Thursday evening (JV vs. Hesston College at 5 p.m. and varsity vs. Southwestern College at 7 p.m.) in Thresher Gym; women’s and men’s soccer vs. Friends University, Saturday at noon and 2 p.m. on Joe W. Goering Field; dedication of the Ward Tennis Center in the northeast corner of campus at 12:30 p.m. Saturday; Ultimate® Frisbee® on the soccer practice field starting at 2 p.m. Saturday; and Athletic Hall of Fame ceremonies.

Soccer player Jennifer (Stipp) Sevier and the 1972-73 Thresher men’s basketball team will be recognized at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Krehbiel Auditorium and inducted into the Hall of Fame at 6:30 p.m., right before the homecoming football game vs. Bethany 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 Fine Arts Center Gallery will have special Saturday hours for “Site Inspired,” an exhibit of mixed media by Bethel alumna Jennifer Miller, Denver. The exhibit’s opening reception, with the artist present, is from 2-3:30 p.m. outside the gallery.

At 11 a.m. in the auditorium of Memorial Hall, the Newton Community Children’s Choir, directed by Tabor College alumna Carmen Weller, will perform in concert with the Elbiata Singers of Goessel High School, under the direction of Bethel alumna Renae Schmidt Peters. There is an admission charge (reduced with Fall Festival button).

In addition to the Prairie Rose Rangers, free music performances scheduled for on or near the campus Green are by the Tom and Lois Harder family of Wichita, performing as Five Times Harder, at 11 a.m.; Bethel College vocal groups at noon; and, beginning at 12:30 p.m., a jazz fest featuring Newton, Hesston and McPherson High School and Bethel jazz groups and musicians.

A Fall Festival tradition of recent years is the hymn sing, which will be at 2 p.m. in the Administration Building chapel.

There will be a variety of children’s activities, including the children’s park, a visit from Moozie® the Cow and special musical, art and movement activities for children. Suzuki Strings and dance students from the Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts will give a joint program at 1 p.m. in Memorial Hall.

There are two special lectures at this year’s Fall Festival. Saturday at 9 a.m. in the Ad Building chapel, Bethel alumna Nancy Rempel-Clower of Grinnell (Iowa) College will give the keynote lecture for the annual Science, Technology, pre-Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Symposium (which begins Friday afternoon in Krehbiel Auditorium). At 1 p.m. in the Kauffman Museum auditorium, alumnus Gerald Dyck, Assonet, Mass., will speak on “Doing ethnomusicology in northern Thailand” and sign copies of his book Musical Journeys in Northern Thailand.

There are also some special reunions on Saturday in addition to the usual class and departmental gatherings. The Bethel Experimental Learning Laboratory (BELL) will have a 40th-anniversary reunion at the Young Alumni Lemonade Stand starting at 10 a.m. Freeman (S.D.) Academy and Freeman Junior College alumni are invited to a reunion at noon in Room 176 of the Fine Arts Center. And the social work coffee, beginning at 1 p.m. in The Meeting Place (Ad Building basement), will honor Larry Friesen, professor of social work, who will retire at the end of this school year.

The Buffalo Barbecue – reminiscent of the original dinners that the athletic department sponsored from 1936-81, though not a “stag” event as those were – begins at 5 p.m. Saturday on Centennial Plaza, with buffalo prepared by Gehring Buffalo Ranch, Moundridge. Advance tickets are strongly recommended – stop by or call Thresher Bookstore in Schultz Student Center, open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 316-284-5205. Tickets are also available at Kauffman Museum or on-site on a first-come first-served basis.

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 five campus entrances on Saturday.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2010-11 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is in the first tier in its category in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of “America’s Top Colleges” for 2011. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.

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