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West Side Nut Club celebrates 100 years

It’s one of Evansville’s favorite times of year — the West Side Nut Club is gearing up for its annual Fall Festival on Franklin Street. This year’s festival beginning on Oct. 4 and running through Oct. 9 will celebrate 100 years of the Nut Club’s commitment to supporting Evansville through a week of entertainment and charity.

The 2021 Fall Festival will feature more than 100 food booths ran by local non-profit groups, carnival rides and games, three parades, a king and queen contest, and daily entertainment on the Benjamin and Anne Bosse Foundation stage.

“We are excited about this being the 100th year of service for our club and we hope people will come out and enjoy all that our great festival has to offer,” says Ryan Beck, publicity chairman for the festival.

While 2021 is the centennial anniversary of the West Side Nut Club, this year’s festival is not its 100th. The weeklong event was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and for three years in the 1940s because of World War II.

As part of the 100th year celebration, the Nut Club is hosting a street merchants window decorating competition for Franklin Street businesses, with judging taking place this Sunday. The top three organizations will receive a $1,500 gift to go toward a 501(c)3 charity of their choice.

Fall Festival Chairman Mike Hahn says the Nut Club is encouraging attendees to practice social distancing whenever possible and adhere to other COVID-19 precautions such as washing hands and wearing masks, but no mask or vaccine mandate is required to attend.

“We understand that people are concerned about it,” he says. “We’re fine with them staying home if they feel uncomfortable.”

Beck recommends those who have concerns about social distancing attend before the lunch rush from 10:30-11:30 a.m., and afterward between 1:30-3 p.m.

“We typically see the streets less crowded at those times,” he says.

Wristband vouchers for rides are available for purchase for $20 at all area Old National Bank branches and Schnucks locations through Friday, Oct. 1. The price will jump to $25 during the festival.

“A lot of people will get them Friday or Saturday because school’s out Friday and Saturday, so we see a lot of them redeemed that day,” says Beck.

Still need to plan what food booths to go to next week? Check out the Nut Club’s Munchie Map here: https://nutclubfallfestival.com/food/munchie-map

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