Fall Festival Time

We always know it’s Fall around here even if it doesn’t feel like it. For the last 89 years my hometown (just 10 minutes from where we live now) has a week-long festival. This carnival and food fest, put on by the West Side Nut Club, is one of the largest street festivals in the US. This year it has attracted over 50,000 people every day.

When I was a teen, this was the place to go in the evenings. They have bands, rides, and lots of carnival games. But even during the day the games, rides, and food are open. They also have a talent show, pet parade and other activities throughout the week.

West Side Fall Festival Games
West Side Fall Festival Games

Now I never go there at night. But I do like to make it a tradition of having lunch there once during the week. Dave hurt his back so he wasn’t able to attend. Since I was on that side of town for an interview for one of my next articles for my Evansville Courier and Press column, I ventured there solo.

After driving around for 20 minutes or so, I finally found a parking place a half mile or so away. Now there are closer places if you want to pay to park. We’ve done that before since the money all goes to not-for-profits, but I didn’t mind walking.

When you arrive on this street, it’s a good idea to have your “Munchie Map” available. Lining the street on both sides are churches, school clubs and agencies – all not-for-profit – which this may be their only fundraiser for the year. Over the years I worked at several of the agencies who had booths, and working during that week cooking and serving was part of my duties.

Franklin Street Lunch on Friday
Franklin Street Lunch on Friday

Every year the vendors try to create a dish that is outrageously unhealthy. This is not the place to go if you are on a diet. A lot of the food is deep fried. This year fried butter was on the menu! Some of the other fried foods included fried Coke, fried cookie dough, fried pickles, fried candy bars, fried corn on the cob, and a sandwich made with a doughnut stuffed with meat and deep fried. Yuk! But we can’t forget about all of the chocolate covered items including crickets and bacon.

One Menu at Fall Festival
One Menu at Fall Festival

This is my one time a year to have a pronto pup.

My pronto put covered in ketchup
My pronto pup covered in ketchup

I usually like to buy the homemade chicken and dumplings, but it was way too hot for eating hot food. So since Kristina had blogged about cream puffs, I just had to have one here.

Cream Puff
Cream Puff

I remembered mom’s cream puffs with homemade chocolate or vanilla custard oozing out of the centers. This one had chocolate, but it wasn’t custard. It was pudding! Kind of disappointing. Guess I’ll have to make my own.

I get a kick out of how the booths try to get people to buy their goods. Here is the University of Southern Indiana’s Art Club.¬† This kid had to be hot.

USI Art Club Booth
USI Art Club Booth

This church used their pastor to sell their food.

Salem UCC booth
Salem UCC booth

I didn’t realize that the kids were out of school for the day so it was real crowded. The lines for rides were real long.

Twister waiting line
Twister waiting line

Oh, and those kids had already stood in one of the ticket lines.

Ticket Line
Ticket Line

One of the many rides.

One of the rides
One of the rides

There were also tamer rides for the less daring and the little kids.

This is a great place just to sit and watch people. Just walking around this festival brought back a lot of good memories of times with friends.

I finished my cream puff, put my camera away, and headed off to my car. But before leaving I had to stop by one of the agency booths I had worked for several years ago, Youth Service Bureau, and pick up one of their Lemon Shakeups.

What a fun afternoon!