CRBI Fish Fry

CRBI volunteer Ben Harrison fries up U.S. farm-raised catfish fillets at the 2017 CRBI Fish Fry. Organizers expect to feed more than 700 people at the annual event to raise money for river protection projects. / CRBI

Whiskers, fins and filets will fly Nov. 10 during the Coosa River Basin Initiative’s 17th annual Fish Fry and Catfish Kissin’ Contest.

CRBI’s Fish Fry and Catfish Kissin’ Contest will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 10 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.

This year’s edition of the fish fry will feature live music from the Barbaric Yawps and a silent auction to support CRBI river protection projects. Live music and the silent auction will take place beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Eleven 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.

John Graham, professor of biology at Berry College, currently leads the contest with $210 raised. Erica Simpson, communications professor at Georgia Highlands College, is in second with $150 and graphic artist and Knitterati founder, Melissa Rutledge is in third with $104.

Others vying for the chance to meet whiskers with a live Coosa River catfish include Andy Lester, bartender at River Dog Outpost; Kristy Agan, personal trainer and owner of KA Athletics; James Lossick, owner of Cedar Creek Park RV & Outdoor Center in Cave Spring; Brad Reeder, assistant vice president for finance at Berry College; Trent Prault, Harbin Clinic vascular surgeon and Rome City Brewing Co. brewmaster; Thunder Pinard, a local Navajo and restaurant entertainer; Austen Earp, musician and musical producer; and Allison Terry, hair stylist at Wiyanna’s Salon.

Supporters can make donations online on behalf of Catfish Kissin’ contestants at Fish Fry tickets may also be purchased at that website and at the following locations: Kroger in Rome, Lavender Mountain Hardware in Armuchee, Cedar Creek Park in Cave Spring and CRBI’s office at 5 Broad St.

The catfish smooching will take place at 1:30 p.m. during the fry.

Also, at the event, CRBI will announce the winner of a new 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 protecting, preserving, and restoring one of North America’s most biologically unique river systems, the upper Coosa River basin.

Sponsors of the event include Talk Radio WLAQ/95.7 The Ridge, Culbreth, Carr & Watson Animal Clinic, Mount Vernon Mills, The Finnell Firm, Ball Corp., United Community Bank, Brown & Brown Insurance of GA, Southeastern Mills, Venue Dog and Cedar Creek RV & Outdoor Center.

For more information contact Jesse Demonbreun-Chapman at 706-232-2724 or email at