The catfish smooching will take place at 2 p.m. at the 11th annual CRBI WLAQ-The Ridge 95.7 Fish Fry at First United Methodist Church in downtown Rome.
Donations of $35 or more receive a year’s membership in CRBI. All donations are tax deductible. Donations may be made online until noon Saturday and until 2 p.m. at the event.
Tickets for the Fish Fry are $9 for adults 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 meal includes fried catfish filets, hushpuppies, cheese grits, cole slaw and tea. Homemade desserts will also be available. CRBI volunteers will serve the meal from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
As of Tuesday, CRBI Board President and Georgia Northwestern Technical College Technology Coordinator Nina Lovel stood in first place in the contest with $242 raised, followed by The Ridge 95.7 radio personality and Competitive Edge owner Scott Wheeler ($215) and East Central Elementary School teacher Gary Jones ($150).
The top three fundraisers among the 24 contestants get to kiss the catfish while the contestant that raises the least money also has to kiss the catfish. More than $1,200 has been raised thus far to help protect North America’s most biologically diverse river basin and our drinking water sources.
Other contestants in the Catfish Kissin’ Contest include Armuchee Elementary teacher Terrell Shaw, Lavender Mountain Hardware’s Spencer Brewer, Rome First United Methodist Church pastor Chris Barbieri, Berry College professors Michael Bailey and Jerry Jennings, Curlee’s Fish House Manager Zack Williams, Darlington biology teacher Owen Kinney, Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson and assistant district attorneys Steve Cox, Natalie Staats and Kay Ann Wetherington, local graphic designer Monica Sheppard, Crawdaddy’s Cajun and Creole Cuisine owner Dereck Brady, singer/songwriter/storyteller Gary Greene, State Senator-elect Chuck Hufstetler, CRBI member Joe Kidd of Gainesville, 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 and Rome News-Tribune Associate Editor Doug Walker.
Supporters can vote for their favorite contestant at www.coosa.org/events/fish-fry/catfish-kissin-contest.
The fish used in the Kissin’ Contest will not be consumed at the Fry; it’s a permanent resident at the Rome-Floyd E.C.O. River Education Center at Ridge Ferry Park.