Fall Festival cancellation a huge blow to non-profit organizations

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EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) The Fall Festival 2020 has been cancelled. This is bad news for hundreds of organizations, like SWIRCA & More and Eagles’s View Church, that rely on the festival to raise money.

Monica Spencer with SWIRCA & More says they usually raise around $40,000 at Fall Fest every year, and that money goes right back to their programs and services. This will be the first time in three decades they aren’t able to take part in the event.

“We’re at the Fall Festival every year and we serve cobbler. So we serve peach, blackberry and cherry cobbler each year and the funds that are raised go towards our programs and services here at SWIRCA & More. This year would have been our 31st year so we have a huge presence down at the Fall Festival.”

SWIRCA & More already had to cancel their biggest fundraiser of year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the Fall Festival cancellation was a huge blow to the organization. Still, Spencer says she is hopeful that SWIRCA can host other fundraisers to make up for the lost revenues.

“Hopefully, if we can get it worked out with the city, we can serve cobbler here at SWIRCA in our parking lot. What we were supposed to do down there, we can do it here.”

SWIRCA & More officials say they have several revenue sources, so they will still have an income without the festival. But for Eagle’s View Church, they say their children and youth ministries may take a big hit this year without Fall Festival.

“Monetarily it blessed our children’s ministries and our youth ministries. That was the fundraiser for the year,” says Mike Pyle, the pastor at Eagle’s View Church, “It’s almost like [God} put us into a reset in the world. Not just our nation or our community, but he’s trying to get us to look up is the way I see this.”

“Honestly, it does unify the church body because we have people here working, then we have people down at the booth working. It’s a long day. Long, long day,” says Sherry Pyle, the youth minister at Eagle’s View Church.

Sherry Pyle says she she understands why the West Side Nut Club decided to cancel the Fall Fest, and she hopes that the businesses who rely on the Fall Festival can survive.

“Hey, it was a hard call I know for all those Fall Festival leaders because they know the community depends on that, but these are different times and we do what we have to do to keep everybody safe.”

Other churches, including Grace and Peace Lutheran Church, say that without the Fall Festival their wallets will be taking a hit for the rest of the year. 

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(This story was originally published on July 8, 2020)

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