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Food booths opt out of Fall Festival due to COVID-19

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 6:34 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - With just one month until the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival, the rise in coronavirus cases has some vendors concerned.

Nut Club Chairman Ryan Beck says six of the 136 food booths have opted out of this year’s festival, and a handful more are talking to organizers about their options.

That short list includes Saint Wendel Catholic Church.

For more than 16 years, Saint Wendel has prepared all kinds of foods for the festival - German cookies, sandwiches and soups, just to name a few.

Each year, the proceeds from the booth go towards the operating budget for the parish and the Catholic school.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, however, those annual favorites won’t be on Franklin Street this year. This comes after there was no festival in 2020.

“We were short those funds,’ says Father Ed Schnur. “We tried to make them up in other ways, but in the end, we ended up okay.”

One year later, Father Schnur had another difficult conversation with his parish, when the church was considering whether or not to participate this year.

“The main reasons were because the numbers of COVID cases were still rising,” says Father Schnur. “Posey County is in the red and Vanderburgh County is in the orange, and we are right on the county line.”

There were also concern of volunteers preparing and working in small spaces, both before and during the festival.

“Pulling all that together,” says Father Schnur, “we decided it would be best for everybody to withdraw from the Fall Festival this year.”

Schnur says what made this decision ever more difficult for Saint Wendel was knowing the springerlies, the fan-favorite German Christmas cookies, were already made - baked and prepared and frozen.

“Other things were in the works, so it was not easy,” says Father Schnur, “but overall, we think for us, it was the most responsible thing for us to do.”

Chairman Beck says any booth that decides to opt out for the 2021 festival will not be replaced this year. Instead, the organization will be saved a spot for next year.

To make the most of this fall, Saint Wendel is selling cookies and dumplings that were already prepared.

To place an order, Father Schnur says you can call the parish office at 812-963-3733.

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