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Fall Festival Holds Tight To Tradition, Crowds Continue To Grow

Fall Festival Holds Tight To Tradition, Crowds Continue To Grow

It's one of the largest street festivals in the nation, yet the Fall Festival only stretches a few blocks. It continues to grow, bringing thousands to Franklin Street every year. Will the Nut Club ever expand, taking the fest further down the street?

At the festival, many say it's all about tradition. With so many packing into the event, tradition, can become a little crowded. It stretches from  St. Joseph, to Wabash Avenue. It's ninety-two years of fried food and tradition. Thousands pack Franklin Street on Evansville's West Side. It's the nation's second largest street festival, and it only stretches a few blocks. With the Fall Festival growing in numbers, should it grow in length? "I think it would be wonderful," says Rick Kersting with the Nut Club. He says the club has talked about it, but expanding the Fall Festival further down Franklin is not on the agenda anytime soon. "There's so much tradition involved, ninety-two years. We don't want to mess with that part of it," says Kersting. He says they have expanded in a different direction, going not up, but out. "A few years ago we weren't able to go further down on Franklin, but we went sideways. We bought a parking lot and we were able to get able ten more groups in there."

The Nut Club bought the old Jerry's Market lot, so the kiddy rides could expand to the side of Franklin. They also bought the First Federal parking lot to help add around ten more booths to the fest. Though they haven't exactly expanded, Kersting says they have grown, in fun that is. "Each year we look at the rides and try to upgrade the rides," says Kersting.  If the fest was ever to expand the next question is, which way should they go. "They should expand past Wabash, not the other way," says Carleen Payne. She would like to see the Nut Club take the fest towards the Pigeon Creek Bridge. For a born and raised west sider, Jackie Elder, says the opposite. "That way. More west side," says Elder.

The Fall Fest is a tradition to many, so would change be a good thing? "West siders, we are stuck in our ways, but if it's for the Fall Festival, I think we would be fine with it." For now the Nut Club wants to keep this traditional event the same, no plans on expanding yet. One of the main reasons is safety. The Nut Club says the confined crowd, in the area they are familiar with, is best for now.

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