EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- We may be just a few days removed from the 101st West Side Nut Club Fall Festival, but that’s not stopping some of the many non-profits from getting a head start on preparations for the 102nd Fall Festival. After all, it’s only about 356 days away.

Still, it’s not exactly hard to understand why it’s so important. For many groups like the Vanderburgh Humane Society, running a booth can be “exhilarating, exhausting, fun, and a relief when it’s over,” in addition to being their biggest fundraiser of the year.

While Laurie Byers says the VHS hasn’t quite crunched all the numbers yet, they know this Fall Festival was a success- despite some hiccups along the way, namely finding enough volunteers to work the booth, get food, and keep the shelter running.

Byers says it may just be a sign of the times. Last year, COVID concerns kept some volunteers from working the booth but this year, Byers notes that people are just simply busy with their own lives. She adds that they don’t typically get a good idea of their volunteer turnout until a week before- and that’s prior to last-minute sign-ups and cancellations.

This year, Byers says the VHS rushed to get an on-call volunteer list and scrambled to make sure everything is in order- including over 400 animals in their care.

Still, it’s not as though volunteer shortages are really anything new. Rachel Stoelting, who organized Bethel Church’s booth says they went through similar issues last year- spending the entire year in between devising ways to address that shortage.

It takes 1300 hours of manpower to properly run the booth, Stoelting says, and they had it covered about 88 percent of the time. Stoelting says they came up with a few plans, including free shirts, a cookout, and a competition between “shift captains” to see who could get a staff together first.

Now, almost a complete year before the next Fall Festival, Stoelting says she’s already looking into ways to make their booth even more efficient in 2023.