World's Biggest Fish Fry
Over 12,500 pounds of catfish are served at the Bobby Cox Memorial Fish Tent during the World's Biggest Fish Fry, a Paris and Henry County tradition which kicks off the festival season in West Tennessee.
The "Fish Fry" evolved from "Mule Day", which originated in 1938 with the Paris Post Intelligencer as the first sponsor. Farmers came to town on the first Monday in April to trade their mules and other farm products, do their shopping and enjoy the fellowship of their friends. Early in the 190's the Chamber of Commerce took over "Mule Day" and the tractor started taking the place of mules. The Chamber of Commerce started looking for another event to replace "Mule Day".
In 1953, the Chamber of Commerce held the first "Fish Fry". The event was not as successful as hoped. The fish were not from Kentucky Lake, and just did not please the fish eating public. The parade was short but sweet, and the event was held on Barton Field for one day and night.
In 1961, the Paris-Henry County Jaycees took over the "Fish Fry" from the Chamber of Commerce.
Since 1961, the "World's Biggest Fish Fry" has grown considerably, from 1600 pounds of catfish to over 5 tons of catfish being cooked and served at the Robert E. "Bobby" Cox Memorial Fish Tent.
Community participation and support of the "World's Biggest Fish Fry" brings the community together in many ways. Community involvement by attending one of the five beauty pageants, buying souvenirs, eating fish dinners, attending the rodeo, entering or watching the Grand Parade, or the Small Fry Parade, and going to the carnival, makes the event successful.
The history of the "Fish Fry" started with the farmers and their mules. Each past "Fish Fry" makes new history with trying new and different things, bigger crowds, more catfish served ad more community involvement.
The Paris-Henry County Jaycees hope to make the "World's Biggest Fish Fry" bigger and better each year.