West Side Nut Club Fall Festival by Pat Sides

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Over the decades, the annual West Side Nut Club Fall Festival has evolved into one of Evansville’s most eagerly-anticipated events, as well as one of the largest street festivals in the country, reflecting the Nut Club’s motto “From Small Acorns, Large Oaks Grow.”

The festival officially got underway in 1921, but three similar occasions were held prior to then, beginning in mid-October of 1914. In the early decades, the Fall Festival was a one-night event, but the 1940s brought considerable changes. These included a parade, food booths, carnival rides, and other forms of entertainment.

The festival was not held from 1943 to 1945 because of the war, but soon after it ended, the first Fall Festival Queen was crowned, and the event became week-long. The 1950s attracted huge celebrities to town, such as the cowboy star Hopalong Cassidy, pictured here in 1956.

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