Evansville, Ind. (WEHT)– The half pot drawing was the talk of the festival in 2019 as it hit over a million dollars. Half of that money was split up among organizations in need. For many non-profits, this was their primary fundraiser of the year so the West Side Nut Club is bringing it back, even though the pandemic forced the cancellation of the Fall Festival.
“It’s a family tradition,” said Evansville resident Mike Paulin.
The sights, sounds, and food lining West Franklin Street have been looked forward to for nearly a century. Paulin said he’s been navigating the West Side Nut Club’s munchie map since high school.
“We come down here most times in a nice group and enjoy the food and take the grand kids on the rides,” said Paulin.
The food served up in those booths provide a lifeline for several charities in the Tri-State. Rita Evans has dished out her savory potato soup at the Pleasant Chapel General Bapist Church booth.
“Our church is a very small church and we depend on this money. It’s greatly needed,” said Evans. “When they found out the Fall Festival was cancelled, Evans said her church members were getting nervous, but they were not alone.”
“To know the number of organizations that were able to benefit from people’s generosity was mind blowing so to think that all of a sudden is being taken out of the community was scary,” explained Lora Lynette Petitt, Development Director of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ohio Valley.
The Ronald McDonald House of the Ohio Valley received $25,000 from the Nut Club’s first half pot. This helped the non-profit provide a warm bed and hot meals for families in Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties who have a child sick or injured in a local hospital. They are relieved the half pot is making a comeback.
“It just helps us breathe a little easier knowing that we can still turn on the lights, the heat, the air conditioning when you need to and that our families feel safe and they feel comfortable and the feel like they are at a home,” said Petitt.
People are already preparing to throw some money in the pot.
“We are looking forward to taking a chance again this year,” said Paulin.
The Nut Club will start selling half pot tickets on September 24. Tickets will be sold until the drawing October 10.
(This story was originally published on Sept. 9, 2020)