The Case: The Fall Festival
We all know the rumor: “The Fall Festival is the second largest street festival in America.”
This rumor began when radio personality, Paul Harvey, remarked that the Fall Festival was second only to Mardi Gras. To this day, many locals still repeat this. Maybe you have even told your children this.
The Evansville West Side Nut Club claims that over 200,000 people attend the Fall Festival. However, one Nut Club member noted on the Courier & Press that no one really knows the real attendance “because of the nature of it being a street festival, there’s no way to keep track of how many people are coming in and out.”
The Verdict: Untrue
The Fall Festival is a great time and raises a lot of money for local charities, but it is not the second largest American street festival. Below are just a few larger street festivals to confirm this rumor is untrue.
Facts: A Few American Street Festivals By Size
Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Louisiana: 1,400,000
While it needs no introduction, Mardi Gras is undoubtedly the largest street festival in the United States.
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Sturgis, South Dakota: 510,749
While the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally might have very different ambiance than the Evansville Fall Festival, it is still considered a street festival.
Austin City Limits Festival, Austin, Texas: 450,000
Austin City Limits is best known for their star-studded music lineup. But Austin City Limits is much more than just concerts. This festival has local food booths and art booths.
South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin, Texas: 400,000
SXSW has grown to be a very large gathering. Originally dedicated to showcasing technology, it has morphed into a week-long street festival taking over about every venue in the city.