Special to The Times
On Sunday, Sept. 30 from noon to 4 p.m. at Railroad Park, 12 teams of culinary competitors battle to see who can create the most delectable catfish dish and sides at the 9th annual Cahaba River Fry-Down catfish cook-off and festival.
Hungry crowds of festival-goers will sample the dishes and vote for their favorite while teams of celebrity judges—including Comedienne Joy and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin—will choose the winners in categories such as “Best Presentation,” “Most Creative,” and “Best Overall.”
The Cahaba River Fry-Down, now in its 9th year, celebrates Alabama’s Cahaba River and is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Cahaba River Society, a nonprofit organization founded in 1988 to protect and restore the Cahaba River.
“It’s like Earth Day in the Fall with catfish,” said Bob Shepard, former president of the Cahaba River Society board of directors and chair of this year’s event planning committee. “This is a festival that celebrates the Cahaba with good food, drinks, fun and ways that all of us can help keep the Cahaba River healthy.”
In addition to the catfish-cooking competition, the Fry-Down features a carnival atmosphere with delicious food, a climbing wall, wildlife demonstrations with live animals, hula-hoopers, belly dancers, face-painters, arts and crafts, educational games, balloon artists, a bar with signature cocktails and craft beers, live music, and more.
“Fry-Down gives you a full day of fun for the whole family,” said Casey Laycock, director of development for Cahaba River Society. “Kids under 12 are free, and the festival is chock-full of activities that are sure to entertain everyone for the whole afternoon.”
“Coming to the Fry-Down is one of the easiest ways ever to support the Cahaba River,” Laycock said. “Just by buying a ticket and joining in the fun, you can become a part of the movement to protect the Cahaba, an invaluable resource to Alabamians that supplies drinking water to 1/5 of our state.”
Adult tickets are $20, include all-you-can-eat catfish and sides, and can be purchased at FryDown.com.
A portion of the proceeds is a charitable contribution and goes directly toward supporting the work of the Cahaba River Society to protect and restore the Cahaba River and its rich diversity of life. Some of the Cahaba River Society’s programs include the CLEAN Environmental Education Program that has brought 37,000 youth and teachers into the Cahaba for hands-on education, the improvement of river access for the Cahaba Blueway water trail, and Cahaba River Society’s work with local developers and municipal officials to reduce the amount of pollution runoff into the Cahaba River.
The Cahaba River Society was founded in 1988 with a mission to restore and protect the Cahaba River Watershed and its rich diversity of life. The organization seeks to have an impact the central Alabama watershed, the Birmingham metro area, and policy at the state, regional, and national level.