The West Side Nut Club Fall Festival has been a staple of the Evansville community since 1921. But the carb-tastic fest doesn’t just affect Evansville folks. People all over the world come to Franklin Street to gorge on fried Snickers, walking tacos and for the stranger tastebuds, chicken gizzards and alligator jerky.
Residents of both Vanderburgh County and Warrick County especially spend the weeks leading up to the fest — which runs from Monday, Oct. 3 to Saturday, Oct. 8 this year — preparing their bellies for a week of saturated, fat-laden and sugary meals.
But surprisingly, out of the 137 booths operating at fall fest this year, only two of them represent Warrick County: Chandler United Methodist Church and the Warrick County Klowns.
Laurie Chase, fundraising chair for CUMC, said they have had a booth at fall fest for more than 15 years now and she is happy to have stepped into the role of being in charge of their booth for the second year in a row.
“There is a lot of preparation that goes into it,” she said. “We start really far in advance.”
Chase said the CUMC booth is known for its delicious beignets, which she orders especially from Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans.
For those unfamiliar with the decadent pastry, beignets are square pieces of dough that are fried and covered with powdered sugar.
Chase said they will also sell corn dogs, chili cheese dogs and homemade peanut butter fudge. She said this year they are adding two new items to their menu: deep fried jalapeno poppers and deep fried reuben sandwiches. Chase said her sister came up with the idea and that she also helps her prepare the food during the fest.
It is a team effort to make the booth successful, Chase said, and a lot of volunteers from church eagerly sign up to help out.
Chase said her favorite part of operating a booth at fall fest is getting to hang out with the volunteers and serving people delicious foods.
She said all of the profits they make over the course of the week goes straight back to the church.
“Basically at this point, it’s to keep the church going,” she said. “I’ll be there pretty much from open to close every day.”
The Warrick County Klowns, members of the Hadi Shrine, will also be at fall fest this year but instead of serving food, they will be offering face painting services.
Jim Shekell, who goes by Sunny Jim when he’s in costume, is one of their most active clowns and has been face painting at the fall fest for years to bring joy to the children.
Chase said she was surprised to find out that CUMC and the Klowns are the only booths representing Warrick County at the festival and believes there should be way more representation from our area because Warrick County has a lot to offer.
Support Warrick County by checking out the tasty beignets and new items CUMC is serving at booth 86 on 12th Avenue and getting your face painted by the Klowns at booth 96 on 11th Avenue.