Coosa River Basin Initiative

Whiskers, fins and filets will fly Nov. 4 during the Coosa River Basin Initiative’s annual Fish Fry and Catfish Kissin’ Contest.

CRBI’s WLAQ-The Ridge 95.7 Fish Fry and Catfish Kissin’ Contest will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 4 at Rome First United Methodist Church. Tickets for the fish fry meal are $10 each or $7 for small fries and include catfish filets, hushpuppies, cole slaw and cheese grits.

Eight local celebrity contestants are now vying for the opportunity to kiss a Coosa River catfish in the Catfish Kissin’ Contest by raising money for the non-profit river protection organization. The top three fundraisers kiss the fish, and the contestant that raises the least (the bottom feeder) also must kiss the fish.

Tom Kennedy, Dean of Berry College’s Evans School of Humanities, currently leads the contest with $310 raised. Kristie Dixon, an operating room nurse at Floyd Medical Center, is in second with $200 and Swift and Finch coffee roaster Mark McLucas is in third with $50. Other contestants include Devon Smyth, executive director of the William Davies Homeless Shelter; Mark Persails, Rome Middle School science teacher; Drew Nicholson, a nurse with Floyd County Schools; Val Featherston, Cave Spring Elementary School teacher and co-owner of Swerve Off the Path art studio; and Adam Sikes, River Dog Outpost bartender and guitar maker.

Supporters can make donations to CRBI on behalf of Catfish Kissin’ Contestants at

Tickets for the Fish Fry are available at, and at CRBI’s office at 5 Broad Street in Rome, Lavender Mountain Hardware in Armuchee, Cedar Creek Park in Cave Spring and Kroger in Rome.

The catfish smooching will take place at 2 p.m. during the fry. Also, at the event, CRBI will announce the winner of a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 kayak in the Cedar Creek Park RV and Outdoor Center raffle. Tickets are available at CRBI and will be sold at the Fish Fry.

Proceeds from the event support CRBI’s mission of informing and empowering citizens to protect, preserve and restore North America’s most biologically diverse river basin.

Sponsors of the event include WLAQ, The Ridge 95.7, Culbreth, Carr & Watson Animal Clinic, Brown & Brown Insurance, Venue Dog, Cedar Creek Park RV and Outdoor Center, United Community Bank and MSP Attorneys.