Evansville man preps for 53rd year manning the grill at the Fall Festival

Evansville man preps for 53rd year manning the grill at the Fall Festival
Published: Oct. 2, 2022 at 1:00 AM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - As the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival returns this upcoming week, so does Sam Fulton, who’s been a part of over 50 Fall Festivals, manning the grill for Corpus Christi Catholic Church.

A little yellow trailer, the only place to find the church’s famous sausage burgers during the Fall Festival.

On Saturday, the church hosted its “Harvest Fest Chili Cook Off,” giving the fry cooks a chance to practice their patty flipping before they head off to Franklin Street.

But the man behind the grill doesn’t need practice. Fulton has been flipping sausage burgers at the Fall Festival for 53 years.

“I made the mistake I think that first year they were looking for volunteers, and I said give me your toughest job and that’s what they put me on,” Fulton said.

That tough job in front of a hot grill is where Fulton has stayed since he first started flipping burgers in the 1970s. Having worked over half of the Fall Festivals, he knows a lot has changed, but some things remain the same.

“I can remember when they had mules pulling the wagons down at the Fall Festival,” Fulton said. “It’s changed a bunch, but the sausage burgers have all stayed the same.”

Fulton knows the science behind cooking the perfect sausage burger, so much so that the other workers gave him his own apron with a special nickname.

“They tattooed me with OMS — that’s Old Man Sam,” Fulton said.

Through five decades, 10 presidencies and countless people strolling through the Fall Festival, a lot has changed, but Fulton’s love for the perfect sausage burger has stayed the same.

“I love the people, it’s a fun day,” Fulton said. “You do it for love, whether it’s the love of God or the love of your family, but you do it all for love.”

People can catch Fulton flipping burgers Tuesday morning at the Corpus Christi booth down on Franklin Street.