(WEHT) — Brad Byrd talked to Jordan Raben with the West Side Nut Club about how planning is going for this year’s Fall Festival. As of now, the event is still scheduled to take place beginning October 5.
Brad Byrd: This is InDEPTH: We are facing some long time traditions we have enjoyed for years are going to be drastically changed. In this year of the pandemic some have already been canceled like the Evansville riverfront fireworks show. But there is one that comes to mind that makes me think..surely not the fall festival. Joining me tonight is Jordan Raben with the West Side Nut Club. Jordan, thank you so much for joining us tonight. The Fall Festival is still scheduled to be in October, but this is going to be a real challenge and how is the west side preparing now on these contingencies that’ll take place between now and October?
Jordan Raben: Yeah, Brad, thanks for having me on. So, you know, really the planning starts after the last festival. So when the last one ended in 2019, we started planning for the festival this year, obviously long before coronavirus was an issue. You know, we’ve got our own equipment, our own restrooms, our own office and things like that that we’ve got to get ready, permits with the city to pull. You know, so it’s a year long process and doesn’t happen overnight. So we’ve got to still proceed as if it’s going to happen. We certainly hope it’s going to happen. You know, but it’s far too early to tell.
BB: We’re talking about 10s of thousands of people over the years that fill West Franklin Street. How do you social distance in an environment like that if we are still being required to do that come October?
JR: You know that’s a good question. You know, we’re going to follow, if we’re able to have it, qe’re going to follow all of the guidelines set forth by, you know, the state and local officials in the local health department. If that means some sort of social distancing, we’ll try and do what we can to to make it work.
BB: Jordan, is there a specific, I guess, deadline that the Nut Club is going to have to follow where you have to make a decision one way or the other because of the nature of the planning for this event, let the vendors know, to let security know, law enforcement, the vendors for the rides and those food booths.
JR: You know, everybody’s obviously fully aware of the situation. We’re going to let everybody involved know, as soon as we make a decision, you know, including you guys. We don’t really have a deadline where we want to have a decision made. Obviously, it’s if we’re going to let this go as long as we can, in hopes that something changes. You know, we’re going to follow once again, the governor’s guidelines, but there really is no set date where we’re going to have a decision made yes or no
BB: You know, over the years and you know this better than anyone, a lot of people literally plan their vacations around the Fall Festival. And there’s so much at stake here because of the charitable work that the Nut Club does with this festival. Last year that half pot raised more than a million dollars. We’re talking about a lot of economic impact here.
JR: Yeah, so obviously the big thing last year, big new thing was the half pot. And that’s something that we’ve, we’ve discussed and are already in process of trying to still have it, we’re making contingency plans to try and have that one way or the other so we can still collect the funds to give back to the community through the half pot. You know, the other main source of our income outside of the half pot is obviously the festival but we want to be able to have the funds to give back to the community and if it’s just that pot that we’re going to have, that’s fine. Obviously not ideal, but that’s the best we can do. We’ll do it.
BB: And what do you say about the people of the Tri-State who have been so supportive of the Fall Festival? You know, we’ve faced a lot in the past two to three months. This is a very short period of time. And the future seems to be well, unwritten at this point. What have you learned from all of this, Jordan, about perspective, putting this festival in perspective?
JR: You know, obviously, this is the first of this kind. You know, we we’ve learned that the community really supports the Nut Club and the Fall Festival. We’ve had tons of questions, both online and you know, in person, we’ve had all of the news outlets asking us constantly, you know what’s going on? And, you know, that’s a big support for us. You know, there’s a lot of organizations that for some, this might be their only source of income for the year- what they make during the Fall Festival. So, you know, for us, it’s a business decision. You know, the we’re glad that everybody’s able to have fun down there, but But for us, it’s it’s business.
The Fall Festival is scheduled to start on October 5.