From The Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM — The Cahaba River Society w ill host its 12th annual Cahaba River Fry-Down Catfish Cookoff and Festival virtually in 2021. While the nonprofit hoped to bring the community back together in-person this year, the current surge in the pandemic has required a return to the online format that made the 2020 festival the widest-reaching event in the organization’s history.
The ‘Fry-Down’ celebrates the Cahaba River, Alabama’s longest free-flowing river and one of the most biologically diverse waterways on Earth. Proceeds benefit Cahaba River Society, a Birmingham nonprofit that works to protect and restore the Cahaba River watershed and its diversity of life.
“Like all of us at Cahaba River Society, you may have a heavy heart as we face another Covid surge and realize that, as much as we want to be together, we must keep each other safe,” said CRS executive director Beth Stewart.
Cahaba River Society has been watching the trending cases and the Department of Health’s evolving requirements for events, spokesperson Katie Shaddix stated in a press release. With only a few weeks to go, the organization doesn’t anticipate improvement that would lead to a safe in-person cooking and education event.
Instead, the event will continue virtually. Teams of aspiring chefs will again create videos of their fish ’n sides recipes, full of tips and showmanship, for audiences to enjoy and vote on.
Educational videos will take participants on a trip down the Cahaba River and show little-known places, outdoor experiences and unique stories of river life.
The Fry-Down virtual event begins September 1 and lasts through Sunday, October 3, ending with a live, online cooking demo.
“Know that your involvement in Fry-Down 2021 — as participants, educators, teams, or sponsors — keeps the Cahaba community growing together and keeps your Cahaba River Society strong and serving the community and the River in this challenging time,” said development director Casey Laycock.
The event benefits the Cahaba River Society, and interested parties may learn more by going to FryDown.com.