The most wonderful time of the year in Evansville comes in the fall. Each October, Franklin Street plays host to the West Side Nut Club’s Fall Festival. A fried food extravaganza, the Fall Fest churns out comforting favorites found only once a year and intriguing delicacies that make even the most seasoned foodies do a double take.
Due to lasting effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 25 booths dropped out of this year’s Fall Fest in the week before opening day on Oct. 3. So while the official Munchie Map isn’t updated to reflect changes and classics like the Donut Bank burger are not available this year, we still found plenty of sweet and savory dishes to satisfy our Fall Fest cravings.
Here are our top five foods to try before the 2021 Fall Fest comes to a close this Saturday.
The Brain Sandwich
Booth 53: Simpson United Methodist Church
Some of you may already be scrolling past this item, but for the brave or just plain curious, this adventurous sandwich is the dish for you. A thin, fried patty of ground pork brain served with an abundance of white onion and pickles on a burger bun, the brain sandwich had us raising our eyebrows in delighted surprise. We enjoyed the ambiguous, but light meat flavoring and didn’t encounter any off-putting textures.
Fried Mac N’ Cheese Bites
Booth 75: Vanderburgh Humane Society
The thick triangle wedges of fried mac n’ cheese found at the VHS booth are my and Staff Writer Riley Guerzini’s Fall Fest go-to snacks. Packed with gooey, cheesy noodles, the bites are fried to a golden crisp and are the perfect size to carry around with a lemon shake-up or gulp down in time to place another order while your friends are still in line.
The Walking Taco
Booth 66: Northwoods Church
Another Fall Fest icon, walking tacos come in all shapes and sizes. This year we came across this hefty walking taco served in its own branded bag. The pouch was designed for easy containment of the delicious, albeit messy, pile of ground beef, cheese, and lettuce covered Fritos, with enough room to add the sour cream served on the side.
Grippos Crusted Grilled Cheese
Booth 9: Perry Heights Middle School Parent Teacher Student Association
It’s a well-known fact that Grippos are Evansville’s favorite snack, and the barbecue chips only get better when it comes to the Fall Fest. Served on a variety of dishes from fried foods to dessert, Grippos made their sandwich debut this year with this hot, perfectly toasted grilled cheese coated in a layer of the crispy chips.
Fried Peanut Butter and Jelly
Booth 17: Pleasant Chapel General Baptist Church
Fall Fest is the place to find anything and everything fried, including a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Covered in powdered sugar, the Smucker’s Uncrustable PB&J is delightfully sweet and gives a satisfying crunch with each bite into its fried exterior.