Hesston College gears up for annual Thanksgiving Weekend activities

Runners begin the 2012 Howard Hustle.

Hesston College will host its 46th annual Thanksgiving Weekend celebration Nov. 28 to 30. The public is invited to attend several events that have become Hesston College traditions.

The weekend lineup includes activities for all ages, including a traditional Thanksgiving meal, the opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, a talent show, a student-directed one-act play, men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, a two-mile run/walk and a luminary walk at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains.

“Thanksgiving Weekend is filled with fun events for people of all ages,” said Dallas Stutzman, director of Alumni and Church Relations. “It’s a great time for guests and the community to experience the many gifts and talents of our students.”

Hesston’s Thanksgiving Weekend allows students’ families and prospective students a glimpse at the Hesston Experience and community.

Prospective students are welcome for a full campus visit weekend, including a majors expo on Friday, Nov. 29, campus tour and spending the night in the dorms. Siblings of current students are especially invited to attend.

Weekend events of special interest include the Thanksgiving buffet prepared by Hesston College Food Service and hosted by faculty and staff members. The dinner will be from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 28 in Bontrager Student Center. Reservations are required. Meal costs are $11 for adults and $8 for children ages 5 to 12.

The opera Amahl and the Night Visitors will be presented twice throughout the weekend – at 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 28 and at 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30, in the Hesston Mennonite Church sanctuary on the Hesston College campus. The Christmas-themed tale, directed by Rachel Jantzi, is a “children’s opera” telling the story of the three kings searching for a newborn king. The opera features music and theatre students as well as faculty members Tony Brown and Matt Schloneger. Tickets for the performances are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased in the Hesston College Bookstore, by calling 620-327-8105 or at the door prior to the performance.

Students, faculty and staff will display their talents through song, skits and video at a 10 p.m. talent show Nov. 28 at Hesston Mennonite Church. Admission is free.

Seasoned and casual runners and walkers can work off their Thanksgiving feasts during the 22nd annual Howard Hustle two-mile run/walk at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29. An early entry fee of $20 is being offered to registrants before Nov. 21. The fee after Nov. 21 is $25. Entry fees cover t-shirts and a chip timer for each participant. Proceeds will be donated to the Hesston College Wellness Equipment Project. Individuals may donate a gift to the project without participating in the run. Medals will be given to overall and age group winners, and door prizes will be given to winners and participants as well. Registration information can be found online at hesston.edu.

A memorial tribute will be held for former faculty member Al Yoder at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, in Smith Center room 8. Yoder served the college for many years, working with international student and teaching English as a Second Language. He passed away in April 2012.

Former faculty members Sharon Cranford and Dwight Roth will share short reflections on their historical fiction book, “Kinship Concealed: Amish Mennonites and African-American Connection,” and sign copies of the book at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, in Smith Center room 119.

The Hesston College Bel Canto Singers, Chorale, Concert Band and String Ensemble will perform works from their fall repertoire at a 2:30 p.m. concert Friday, Nov. 29 in the Hesston Mennonite Church Sanctuary.

A student-directed one-act play, “Sister Mary Explains It All for You,” directed by sophomore JD Hershberger (Hesston, Kan.) will be at 4:30 and 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29, in the Northlawn Studio Theatre. Admission is free.

Weekend guests are invited to the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains’ annual luminary walk from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 30. The candlelit walk will be themed to “The Nutcracker Suite.” Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and $2 for children 15 and younger.

The men’s and women’s basketball teams will host Central Community College (Seward, Neb.), Northern Oklahoma College-Enid and Tabor College (Hillsboro, Kan.) junior varsity for the Thanksgiving Classic basketball tournament sponsored by Mid America Youth Basketball Nov. 29 and 30.

A complete weekend schedule and registration information can be found on the Hesston College website or by calling the Special Events office at 866-437-7866 or 620-327-8109.