92nd Annual Fall Festival brings thrill to Franklin Street

Ariana Beedie

TKEThis year’s Fall Festival will feature 126 food booths which gives festival goers a lot of fried options, and booth owners a lot of money making possibilities.

The oldest booth, the Ultimate Nutty Bar, is the only one still left that’s an actual profit booth, and has been around since the early 70s, Alan Schaffstein said.

“Fall Fest is kind of a big family reunion,” he said.

Schaffstein, co-chair of the Fall Festival, said that in the past all booths were for profit.

“About 50 years ago the majority of the booths became non-profit,” Schaffstein said.

University organizations participate in Fall Fest as to represent students, while also raising money for various charities.

Kelsey Turner, a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, participated in the fest as a freshman, and is now preparing for the fest as a senior.

“Members have to work minimum of three hours through the week,” Turner said. “We have over 100 members, so we can fill the hours.”

Alpha Sigma Alpha featured “Oreo Balls” last year, and they’re hoping to sell a lot this year, she said.

“The money made goes to a few places, like our chapter fundraiser,” Turner said.

Some of the proceeds made go towards Riley Children’s Hospital, she said.

“Booths make tremendous money,” Brian Zeller said. “Some make up to $30,000.”

Zeller, West Side Nut Club president, said there isn’t normally space for new booths, but there’s a wait list.

“If someone drops out, we’ll go in order down the list to the next person,” he said. “People I know have been on the list for over 10 years.”

Zeller, an Evansville native, went to Fall Fest every year growing up with his parents, he said.

Now he takes his own family to celebrate the festival.

“Everybody has such a great time,” Zeller said.

When the West Side Nut Club started in 1921, its purpose was to raise money for the west side high schools and to give back to the community.

“Each west side high school gets $22,000, and the others about $4,000,” Zeller said. “It depends on how profitable the festival.”

If an organization needs funding, they can submit a request to the West Side Nut Club board. From there, the board meets and decides how much it can give, Zeller said.

“We give back to the community one way or another,” he said.

Franklin Street businesses also prosper from Fall Festival goers, especially bars.

Amy Word, Franklin Street Events Association president, said Fall Fest is an amazing opportunity to give back to non-profit organizations.

“It makes me proud to be an Evansvillian,” she said.

Lamasco, which is Word’s bar, hosts several live music acts with their normal drink specials.

“We don’t jack up rates when events happen,” Word said. “Our prices never change.”

Lamasco is hosting regional bands for Fall Fest, including acts from Chicago and Louisville.

“Once you start dancing, you don’t stop all night,” Word said.