Now, through Saturday, Nov. 10, these Coosa River Basin Initiative members and supporters will vie for the “privilege” of kissing a live 10-pound catfish by raising money to protect our rivers in CRBI’s Catfish Kissin’ Contest.
“The top fundraisers will kiss the fish,” said Barbara Crawford, CRBI Treasurer who hatched the fundraising idea. “And to keep it interesting, the contestant that raises the least money will also kiss the catfish.”
Supporters can “vote” for their favorite catfish kisser at CRBI’s Catfish Kissin’ Contest website: www.coosa.org/events/fish-fry/catfish-kissin-contest Every dollar donated equals one vote. Contestants will also have catfish collection jars at their offices and places of business where supporters can make donations. All donations are tax-deductible.
The smooching will take place at 2 p.m. during the Fish Fry at First United Methodist Church in Downtown Rome.
Served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.. the Fish Fry meal includes U.S.-farm-raised catfish filets, hushpuppies, cole slaw and cheese grits. The fish used in the Kissin’ Contest will not be consumed at the Fry; it’s a permanent resident at the Rome-Floyd River ECO Center at Ridge Ferry Park.
Tickets are $9 and $7 for “small frys” and can be purchased at CRBI, Lavender Mountain Hardware in Armuchee, Kroger in Rome and Cedar Creek Park in Cave Spring. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.coosa.org.
The list Catfish Kissin’ contestants includes Michael Bailey and Jerry Jennings, professors at Berry College; educators Gary Jones of East Central Elementary, Terrell Shaw of Armuchee Elementary and Owen Kinney of Darlington School; Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson and assistant district attorneys Steve Cox, Natalie
Staats and Kay Ann Wetherington.
Others include Rome First United Methodist pastor Chris Barbieri; local graphic designer Monica Sheppard; Crawdaddy’s Cajun and Creole Cuisine owner Dereck Brady; Lavender Mountain Hardware owner, Spencer Brewer; singer/songwriter/storyteller Gary Greene; State Senator-elect, Chuck Hufstetler; CRBI member Joe Kidd of Gainesville,
CRBI Board President Nina Lovel; West Rome Animal Clinic owner, Dan Pate; Carolyn McGuiness of Brinson, Askew, Berry, Seigler, Richardson & Davis; local author Mike Ragland; Cycle Therapy owner, Trey Smith; Rome News-Tribune associate editor, Doug Walker; Competitive Edge owner and radio personality, Scott Wheeler; and Curlee’s Fish House manager, Zack Williams.
Contestants are already developing creative campaigns to garner support. Said Veterinarian Dan Pate: “I am not particularly fond of kissing a fish, but to support the efforts of CRBI in preserving our river system, if needed- I'll pucker up!”
Others are trying different tacts. Darlington biology teacher Owen Kinney said, “I do not like the idea of fleshy catfish barbels tickling my face. Furthermore, sub terminal mouths are dirty and the whole idea of forcing this level of intimacy feels wrong,” while First Methodist pastor Chris Barbieri remembered the all-you-can-eat catfish fries of his youth and said, “The opportunity to kiss a catfish would be an opportunity to say thank you to all catfish for the sacrifices they have made through the years for my eating enjoyment.”
CRBI’s Fish Fry will also include a Green Expo with exhibits highlighting healthy living and energy and water efficient products for the home. Several carnival games will allow patrons to win great prizes from CRBI and Fish Fry sponsors and supporters. CRBI expects to serve up more than 900 plates of catfish at the event.
Sponsors of the event include Georgia Power, McRae, Stegall, Peek, Harman, Smith & Manning LLP, United Community Bank, Brown & Brown Insurance, Wells Fargo Advisors, Ferrell Gas and Culbreath, Carr & Watson Animal Clinic.
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