Five New Things at Homecoming This Year

Homecoming 2021 took place October 1-3, and it was one for the history books. In addition to traditional events like reunions, athletic games, and a family movie night, the weekend featured some new things, too. Here are some of the highlights.

By Cherie Suonvieri '15, content specialist

October 06, 2021 | 2 p.m.

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1. 150th Kickoff

Since its founding in 1871, Bethel has sent more than 50,000 alumni out into the world, so it would seem appropriate that Homecoming weekend should mark the kickoff of Bethel’s 150th anniversary celebration. Special events included a digital historical display in the Bethel University Library and the Homecoming Hymn Sing, featuring a selection of hymns from throughout the decades in honor of Bethel’s 150-year legacy. 

2. New Royal Stadium

An estimated 4,782 fans packed out Royal Stadium to watch Bethel defeat Gustavus Adolphus College 34-9 during Saturday’s football game. While a Homecoming victory is nothing new, this was the first Homecoming football game to take place in the newly upgraded stadium, complete with artificial turf, made possible by the Called to More Campaign. Within the next year, Royal Stadium will see further updates, including a nine-lane outdoor track and upgrades to the throws area. 

3. Inviting Alumni Back to Campus

While not entirely new, it felt like a refreshing new chapter for many alumni who came back to campus for homecoming festivities after a more scaled-back, primarily-virtual Homecoming week in 2020. The weekend featured a variety of reunions, including a one-year reunion for alumni who finished their senior years in a virtual instruction learning environment. Over 300 alumni attended class-specific reunions, and an additional 50 attended reunion events for football and baseball. 

4. Alumni Marketplace

Brand new this year was the Alumni Marketplace, which gave Homecoming attendees the opportunity to shop from alumni-owned businesses while simultaneously supporting Bethel. The event featured 10 alumni vendors, each with unique products or services, including organic protein bars, lawn care and landscaping, balloon décor, candles, soaps, pottery, and more. A portion of profits made during Homecoming were donated to the Bethel Fund. Miss the sale? Shop online, now through the end of the year!

5. Petting Zoo

Tommy’s Petting Zoo is a Bethel University favorite during finals week and year round. Those who attended the Alumni Marketplace were also in close proximity to this new event, and Royals of all ages enjoyed the 20+ animals, which included llamas, chickens, donkeys, and more. 

Homecoming weekend wrapped Sunday afternoon, and we’re already looking forward to next year. Save the date for October 7-9, 2022! We hope to see you there.

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