Evansville Annual Fall Festival

Katy Holland, Features Editor

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Every October, the Nut Club in Evansville, a city about an hour away from Owensboro, organizes and sponsors a mammoth Fall Festival. This is a week-long gala on the west side of Evansville, along Franklin Street, with free entertainment, carnival attractions, over 126 food booths, amateur talent competitions, and, on the last day, a huge parade. This event attracts over 200,000 people to the West Side and is considered to be one of the largest street festivals in the United States.

The annual West Side Nut Club Fall Festival gathers the tri-state together. The festival was in full-swing Sunday, October 2nd, 2016. The Festival celebrated their 85th year with their famous food booths, games and rides.  Many come for the food, all of which are from food companies around the U.S. Some food they offered this year were Texas tenderloins, half-pounders, pronto pups consisting of 62 different ingredients, chicken and beef fajitas, burgoo, variety of BBQ sandwiches, and many more.

West Side Nut Club history was after three successful years of holding Halloween type Festivals, so a handful of West Side businessmen decided, in 1921, to form an organization that would handle the duties of putting together successful Fall Festivals and to initiate, promote, and support any and all movements in Evansville, Indiana. The first West Side Nut Club Fall Festival happened on a Halloween Night, and had Halloween Carnivals, and masked balls. One Nut Clubber compared it to Mardi Gras. The event was a one-night event and consisted of a parade of costumed people that started at 8:00 p.m., followed by a Halloween Mask Ball that lasted until 11:30 p.m. The crowd was estimated as 25,000 people. Cost of the project was $340.98 but was considered to be worth thousands of dollars to the West Side.

In 1940, the festival, for the first time, added 3 rides, a Ferris Wheel, a Merry-Go-Round, and Mini Autos, all were placed on 12th Avenue. They also had an exhibit of caged animals, some concession stands, and circus acts.

If people are interested in this fun festival, their website, http://www.nutclubfallfestival.com/, will guide you on what goes on during the festival day by day. They have an entertainment schedule, which lists out the times, places, and what will be going on at that time.

Sunday, which is the beginning of the fall festival, is when family afternoon begins where kids and parents are welcomes to do activities and ride rides. Monday is the day all the booths open starting at 11:00 a.m. and starts attracting people. You can purchase a $15 bracelet and that allows you to ride as many rides as you want, and the website offers a map telling where everything is at, making it easier for you to get where you need without wasting time. If you don’t want to hassle with parking near the Festival for lunch, METS provides free shuttle service from the Civic Center. The shuttle runs daily from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., every 30 minutes.

The weather usually varies between 60 to 85 degrees, depending on if it rains or a cold front comes through. It usually will be a nice week full of different entertainment with wide genres and types. If the weather allows it, dozens of proud pet owners showed up to get their spot in line at the annual Fall Festival Pet Parade on Saturday morning. Organizers with the West Side Nut Club say the event grows in popularity with each passing year. Hundreds of people line up on the side of the road to watch floats designs and cute little fur babies.


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