The best amateur catfish fryers in Alabama will square off for the 3rd Annual Cahaba River Society Fry-Down, a competitive catfish cooking contest and riverfront festival to celebrate the beauty and significance of the Cahaba River. The event will b held Sunday, Oct. 7, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., at Trussville Springs, along the banks of the Cahaba. A donation of $15 gets admission to the event.
The Fry-Down is like a BBQ or chili cook-off, but with catfish and hush puppies. Local teams of enthusiastic chefs will prepare catfish and fixings for a panel of celebrity judges. Fest-goers can sample their efforts and learn about the diversity of the Cahaba River and its role as a source of drinking water and recreation for Alabama. Last year, more than 500 people gathered around the river for a day of fun, water-smart learning activities. Children and families filled the river, exploring the relationship between water quality, habitat, and the health of aquatic life. The Fry-Down is an annual fundraiser for the Cahaba River Society
The Small Fry area will feature games and hands-on activities for children in and beside the river, led by talented environmental educators. There will also be games and a photo contest for teens.
The Water Shed area will provide adults an opportunity for interactive learning and brief workshops on topics dealing with water: Where we get our drinking water; How to keep drinking water sources clean and abundant; How to manage water-sustaining development; How to manage storm runoff through rain barrels and rain gardens; How to save water, energy and money through more efficient landscape practices; and How to access the river for recreation.
The Fry-Down will also feature a cooking demonstration by George Sarris of the Fish Market Restaurant, along with live music and a chance to try out a canoe or kayak on the river, courtesy of the Birmingham Canoe Club.
The Fry-Down presenting sponsor is Amerex Corporation, a Trussville-based manufacturer of quality and innovative firefighting products for over 40 years. The Amerex catfish team, called “Off da Hook”, is also the reigning Fry-Down champion. This year they’ve provided their secret recipe to George Sarris of the Fish Market, who will recreate their winning entry during the week preceding the festival. The catfish dish will cost $10, with one dollar going as a donation to CRS. “The Amerex team embodies the spirit and great food of the CRS Fry Down,” said Beth Stewart, Executive Director of the Cahaba River Society. “George Sarris, who is our chief judge, recognized their culinary talents and is delighted to feature their catfish recipe in his restaurant.”
The Cahaba River Society is thrilled that the Trussville community has so embraced this event. In addition to Amerex’s participation as title sponsor, Mayor Gene Melton has served as host and a competition judge of the Fry-Down since the inaugural event in 2010. Trussville Utilities graciously provides water each year, and Trussville-based Three Eared Rabbit serves up delectable treats. The Trussville News and The Trussville Tribune help to get the word out for us, and area churches and city hall provide logistical support. We are looking forward to working with the students at Hewitt-Trussville High School again this year. Their volunteerism has been integral to our success each year. Students’ enthusiasm for the CRS mission is so encouraging, and we love that so many young people are committed to the watershed.
The full list of Fry-Down sponsors, along with other festival information and on-line ticketing, is available on the event web site, www.frydown.com.
The Cahaba River Society works to restore and protect the Cahaba River watershed and its rich diversity of life. The Cahaba is the main drinking water source for the Birmingham Water Works Board, which serves about one-fifth of Alabama residents
The Cahaba has more species of fish per mile than any other river in North America and is considered to be nationally and globally significant for freshwater biodiversity by conservation groups such as The Nature Conservancy and The World Wildlife Fund.
The Society’s innovative CLEAN (Children Linking with the Environment Across the Nation) program, offers students hands-on environmental education activities while safely participating in a canoe trip or stream walk in the Cahaba River watershed. CLEAN has served more than 25,000 Alabama children.