F is for Fall Festival

Of all the Evansville traditions and celebrations, one event rises above the rest as the River City’s most notable annual attraction.

The West Side Nut Club Fall Festival began in 1921 when a group of West Side businessmen formed an organization that would handle the duties of putting together a festival to promote and support Evansville.

The first Fall Festival was announced as a Halloween Carnival on Franklin Street; a one-night event which consisted of a parade of costumed people followed by a masked ball.

Fall Fest has since grown into a yearly spectacle, with people from all over the country visiting Evansville in the first full week of October to celebrate one of the largest street festivals in the U.S.

With carnival rides, countless food booths, and entertaining performances and activities, Fall Fest has garnered national attention and become a massive fundraiser for many local nonprofits. The week’s events include the amateur hour talent show, special kids’ day, a queen and king contest, tug of war, lighthouse parade, pet parade, and the main parade.

In 2019, the Nut Club added the inaugural half pot fundraiser, where half of the proceeds raised go to local schools, nonprofits, and other organizations.

This year, the West Side Nut Club celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Fall Festival, though it will not be the 100th Festival. It was halted during the years of World War II in 1943, 1944, and 1946 and then again last year in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, let’s keep our fingers crossed this pandemic recedes, and Evansville can once again enjoy its hallmark celebration in 2021.

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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