The 90th Fall Festival on 24 Food Booths a Day

Today I, along with my veteran panel of judges Tracy Silver and Kathy Collins, hit 24 booths.  Even with small samples, 24 of ‘em add up in a hurry.  Consider this – you pile a pronto pup on top of a kangaroo sandwich, mix it with a deep-fried Twinkie and so on for a couple of dozen booths and you find out quick that it’s the combo that’ll kill you.  Tough duty, I know.  (And voluntary!)

Booth

67 – St. Peters United Methodist.  Deep-fried Sprite Brownie.  Interesting because the brownie holds up better than an Oreo in the frying.  (Only someone with experience at the Fall Festival would understand that comparison).  Quite good.

66 – St. Mark United Church of Christ.  The famous “Red Barn” booth.  Best Walking Tacos on Franklin and honored by us in the past.  Homemade waffle cone stuffed with all things taco.  How big a seller?  They’ll make 2400 cones this week.

65 – Albion Fellows Bacon Center.  Drop everything and run to booth 65 before they sell out of Monte Cristo sandwiches.  Because they do every year and well before the weekend.  What’s a Monte Cristo?  It's a ham and cheese sandwich on French toast, deep-fried, and served sprinkled with powdered sugar and strawberry jam for dipping.  A Best of the Festival pick in the past.  A Fall Festival must try!

64 – Phi Delta Theta.  The fraternity from USI is offering up a new sandwich this year, the “Phi-er (pronounced “fire”) Burger. “  A Phi-er Burger is a spicy masterpiece with a burger patty, Southwest sauce, jalapenos, and cheese on a garlic butter bun.  The sandwich offers plenty of heat but doesn’t overpower.  Outstanding!

63 – Alpha Kappa Lambda.  Excellent Strom from a booth with attitude.  Look for the metallic purple and gold booth with a great bunch of guys running it. 

62 – Cleaves Memorial CME Church.  It’s a universal truth that church ladies can cook.  But with this booth, it’s clear that some church ladies can cook better than others.  The ladies of Cleaves Memorial simply serve some of the best tasting food in town, Fall Festival or not.  We’ve singled out their outstanding bbq mutton before and their chess pie has won our praises for several years.  For 2011, ladies and gentleman, Cleaves offers Rib Tips.  Killer. 

61 – Lambda Chi Alpha from USI.  Oddly work only the street side of the booth but it seems to work for them.  Good Philly and a great discount if you buy 2.

60 – Isis Temple #41 Daughters of the Nile.  Another past award winner.  The Italian Beef is superb.  And they’re claiming to have the largest tenderloins at the Festival.  That could be true; they look like breaded manhole covers. 

59 – Life Choices.  Big hit last year and a great treat – Piggy Toes – Vienna sausages wrapped in bacon, covered with sugar cinnamon and baked.  6 for $2.50.   

58 – Reitz Band Boosters.  French Waffles.  One of a kind and a Fall Festival staple.  Grab a bag for home (and they freeze well, too).

57 – Westside Catholic.  The gauntlet is thrown.  Westside Catholic takes their Pronto Pup very seriously and they’re ready to stack theirs up against all comers.  That’s going to happen Thursday at noon at the main stage.  Listen to the WIKY Morning Show for more on our first ever “Pronto Pup Off” where a panel of food experts will determine in a blind taste test who really has the best Pronto Pup on Franklin.  (Gotta tell ya, Westside Catholic’s Pup is going to be hard to beat.  They’re wonderful.)

56 – St Agnes PTO.  Perennial Festival favorite fudge and kuchen, all homemade from scratch.  Superb.

55 – Salem UMC.  Check out their Fudge of the Day (Monday was Dreamcycle fudge, Tuesday, Mounds fudge). 

54 – TTT Christian Youth Ministries.  Hand-dipped in an ancient secret recipe and deep-fried to golden brown perfection – behold a real Corn Dog.  If the only corndogs your kids ever tasted came from Sam’s Club, please correct it immediately by taking them to booth 54.  The difference will astound you.

53 – Simpson United Methodist.  Famous for their brain sandwiches (one of only two booths doing the brain thing) but they’ve also offered another favorite that you may have overlooked – home baked Sunflower Bread.  It’s an individual loaf served with strawberry butter.  Very nice homemade flavor.

52 – Harrison Band Boosters.  Puppy Chow and lots of it.  They claim to have introduced it to the Fall Festival many moons ago and it remains their biggest seller.

51 – Forest Hills Wesleyan Youth.  Chicken and Dumplins.  The dumpins are rolled fresh every morning before the festival.  All from scratch with a nice thick broth.  Quarts to go available.

50 – Trinity Lutheran Darmstadt.  The world famous Eagle Egg.  Honored by us several times in the past, it’s a Scotch Egg – a hardboiled egg, packed in breakfast sausage, coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried.  Are you kidding me?  Absolute Fall Festival must have.  Comes with a variety of dips but I prefer the sweet and sour sauce.  But wait, there’s more!  As close to gourmet as you can get when deep-frying macaroni and cheese.  It’s homemade mac and white cheddar, packed in breadcrumbs to about the size of a billiard ball and deep fried.  In the world of fried cheesy pasta, this sets the bar.

49 – Republicans.  Something new and different – the West Virginia Hot Dog.  It’s listed on the menu and repeated several times by the booth staff as “boneless West Virginia Hot Dogs.”  Right.  So what is it?  It’s a quarter pound hot dog on a bun with chili, creamy cole slaw, and cheese.  And you know what?  It’s surprisingly good and only $3.

48 – Salem Heusler UCC.  Got to love it when everything ties in.  The homemade ice cream that tops their Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae is made fresh by their pastor, a dairy farmer.  That homemade difference in taste is unique and unless you know a dairy farmer, the Fall Festival is the only place to experience it.  

47 – Evansville Racing Pigeon Club.  The soon to be famous “Pigeon Poo.” (Peanut butter Capt Crunch, pretzels, marshmallows, and white chocolate).  It’s great!

46 – Evansville Lutheran School.  Giant Turkey Legs!  Their turkey legs were left off the Munchie Maps this year and it’s cause a minor panic.  Please don’t be concerned!  Cavemen and women can still walk down Franklin with huge chunks of meat!  A favorite every year and when asked how many turkey legs they sell in a week all they could say was, “A lot.”

45 – Boy Scout Troop 374.  They offer several menu items from Canton Chinese restaurant on North Park with everything fresh cooked at the Festival so it’s hot and fresh.  Great egg rolls.

44 – St Joe’s Knights of St John.  Another Pronto Pup pioneer.  And, yes, they say theirs is the best.  In fact, they offered that the secret is the Farmboy frank in combo with their top secret batter that gives their Pups the best flavor.  We’ll see Thursday in the big Pronto Pup Off, noon at the main stage.

43 Corpus Christi Men’s Club.  This is one of the booths I most admire because they specialize.  All they sell are Sausage Burgers and they’re done right, too.  A Fall Festival must try.  Look for the brown and yellow “covered wagon” booth.  A landmark. (They also sell drinks).