Bethel University’s Homecoming 2015 weekend, scheduled for Oct. 16, 17 and 18, will offer many activities including an open house on Saturday where prospective students can tour campus and take part in the Bethel experience.

     Homecoming week begins with a Blessing of the Animals service on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

     “This has become a Homecoming week tradition,” said Myra Carlock, Director of University and Alumni Events.

     According to Carlock, the service is officiated by Reverend Dr. Anne Hames, the University Chaplain, and the Reverend Dr. Jon Carlock, Professor of Religion and Philosophy. Refreshments will follow the service. The service will begin at 5:30 p.m., in the Bethel University Alumni Garden.

     Also on Wednesday night, there will be a Coffee House in the Daily Grind in the Marrs-Stockton Music Building.

     “We invite area alumni back to showcase their talent, along with current students, faculty and staff,” Carlock said. “We’re really hoping the community will come to this event to enjoy this talent showcase.”

     Carlock said the Coffee House will begin at 9 p.m. and that the event is free and open to the public.

     For those interested in art, an alumni art exhibit will be on Thursday, Oct. 15 from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. in the Dickey Fine Arts Building. The Bethel University Art Department is proud to present a showing of the works of Bethel alumni. The exhibition, featured in the Kathy Sacks Art Gallery, will include work of Dudley Condron, Kathleen Sacks, Cindy Mallard, Wayne Bannister, Jason Cole, Kara Barnhardt, Kelly Dupree, Emily Laforce and Kayla McKenzie. An opening reception will begin at 6:30, and the artists will be in attendance.

     Thursday evening also features the premiere of Bethel Academic Theatre’s presentation of Evita, the Tony Award-winning musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Evita will show throughout Homecoming Weekend with performances on Friday and Saturday evenings and on Sunday afternoon. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday matinee performance will be at 2 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door and are $7 each.

     The 15th Annual Homecoming Golf Tournament will kick off events for Friday, Oct. 16. Golfers will tee off with a shotgun start at 10 a.m. at Carroll Lake Golf Club.

     “We want to remind golfers in the area that this is not solely for our alumni,” Carlock said. “Any golfer who wants to sign up to play is welcome.”

     The tournament is a 4-person scramble, and the fee to play is $55 per person or $220 for a team of 4. Tournament fee covers green fees, cart and lunch. Those interested can contact Jennifer Glass atglassj@bethelu.edu or at 731-352-4259 to register.

     At noon on Friday, the community can come and enjoy a Recital Hour presented by the Division of Music. The event will include performances, both vocal and instrumental, and it will begin at noon in the L.J. Turner Recital Hall in the Marrs-Stockton Music Building. The event is free and open to the public.

     On Friday afternoon, the community can get a sneak preview of Wildcats Men’s Basketball. A Purple and White Scrimmage will begin at 4 p.m. in Crisp Arena. This event is also free and open to the public.

     Also at 4 is a book signing by Bethel alumnus Josh Harper, who currently pastors the Second Congregational Church in Memphis. Harper has released his first book, “Last One Picked,” and he will be signing copies for those who wish to purchase one from him. The book signing will be until 6 p.m. in the Vera Low Center for Student Enrichment.

     Alumni will have three opportunities Friday evening to catch up with former classmates and friends. A mixer will be from 4:30 until 6:30 for those who graduated in 1945, 1955, 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995, 2005, and 2015. The event will be held in the Kathy Sacks Art Gallery in the Dickey Fine Arts Building.

     The Alumni Dinner, Athletic Hall of Fame Inductions and Alumni Award Presentations will be from 6 until 8 p.m. Reservations are required for this event, and tickets are $15 per person. To make a reservation, contact Myra Carlock at carlockm@bethelu.edu or at 731-352-4090.

     From 9 until 11 p.m., the Golden Grads Class of 1965 will have their 50 year reunion at T-Birds on the Square in McKenzie. If you are a local member of Bethel’s class of 1965, please contact Al Buoyance at 540-297-8784 or at 840-520-6578 to get more information.

     Another great community event will be the Bonfire and Spirit Rally in the Parking Lot Behind Wildcat Stadium on Friday evening at 8:30 p.m. There will be performances by Bethel Bluegrass, Renaissance Regiment, and the Wildcat Cheerleaders and Dance Team. It’s a free event that is open to the public.

     Saturday Oct. 17 events begin with a Wildcat Run 5K Sprint and 1 Mile fun run/walk. The event is sponsored by the Bethel University Physician Assistant Program, and the proceeds benefit NBIA. The race will begin at 8 a.m. Registration is required, and there is a $20 entry fee for the Super Hero Sprint or a $10 fee for the 1 mile fun run. Those interested can contact the Bethel Physician Assistant Program for registration at 731-407-7660 or they can email mbarb44@bethelu.edu.

     Registration for Enrollment Services’ Prospective Student Open House will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. Campus tours will begin at 9, and then students will get to take part in Wildcat Alley, tailgating and the Homecoming football game. To register, call 1-844-497-0265 or go to www.bethelu.edu and select “Schedule a Visit.”

     A preview of the Lady Wildcats 2015-16 team will be at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning with scrimmage play in Crisp Arena.

     Bethel’s Annual Homecoming Wildcat Alley will begin at 10 a.m. and will continue until 1:30 p.m., which is kickoff for the Wildcats football team. Wildcat Alley is open to the community, and participants can mix, mingle, tailgate, and enjoy area vendors’ special treats and booths. There will also be performances by Renaissance.

     “Keep in mind that community members can take part in our Ultimate Tailgate Competition,” Carlock said. “There is a $50 entry fee, and judging will begin at noon. There will be three divisions for tailgating – one for students, one for alumni and one for all others. Prizes will include bragging rights, trophies and BU swag.”

     To sign up for the competition, contact Nick Batey atbateyn@bethelu.edu.

     Other Saturday events include alumni games for baseball and softball beginning at 1 p.m., Wildcat Soccer at 1 p.m., and the Homecoming football game beginning at 1:30 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium.

     An evening with Renaissance, the Bethel Performing Troupe, will round out Homecoming on Sunday, Oct. 18 beginning at 6 p.m. in Crisp Arena. This is a free performance by Renaissance.

     For general questions about Bethel University’s Homecoming 2015 events, contact Myra Carlock at carlockm@bethelu.edu or at 731-352-4090.