World's Largest Fish Fry
Imagine cooking fish for 12,000 people! That’s exactly what the Jaycees in Paris do every year. Around 100 volunteers, more or less, work and make sure the Fish Fry is a success, but a small core group of Jaycees—who are using their vacations from their real jobs—are the ones that drive the event.
66 years ago, the event originally started out as a ‘Mule Day’, where farmers could come into town, swap mules and stories, baked goods, butter, jellies and jams, and other things on the farm, as well as do their shopping along with visiting their friends. The Paris Post Intelligencer was the first sponsor of the ‘day,’ as it should have been. Newspapers were the lifeblood of our local communities.
Early in the ’50s, the Paris Chamber of Commerce decided to re-format the event and actually held the first fish fry in 1953. While in the ’50s, they might have cooked around 1500 pounds of fish, in 1961, the Jaycees took over the Fish Fry and they have never looked back. The cook tent has now swelled to hold over FIVE TONS of fried fish, hushpuppies, and all the fixin’s.
At $12 per adult, the buffet-style dinner is a whole lot of fun and a good reason to drive to Paris, but that’s not all that happens. The World’s Largest Fish Fry week includes a Small Fry Parade for youngsters on Saturday, with prizes for Best Decorated Bike/Trike, Best Character/Costume, Most Original Float, Best Decorated Float, Coolest Pet, and Best Marching Unit. Floats were pushed/pulled by hand, and it is seriously adorable!
The Grand Parade on Friday, with its major float displays, was led by Jordan, the person at the center of Sweet Jordan’s Bakery, in a beautiful Red Corvette. (You will hear more about him in our June issue!) Other fun things included a 5K Hushpuppy Dash, Bed Races, a Street Dance with the Ray Lewis Band, a Carnival during the entire week, a Christian Concert, a Country Concert, arts and crafts, a junior fishing rodeo, even catfish races—yes, catfish can really swim fast; a Demolition Derby and a Championship Bulls & Barrels Showdown Rodeo finished out the week.
If you missed it this year, go to our website to see LOTS of photos, and be sure to put it on your calendar for NEXT year. If you are planning to go to Paris any time soon, you can always put the Tennessee River Jam on your calendar.
Tennessee River Jam Details Announced
Three days, twelve concerts, and twenty-two artists will rock the shores of the Tennessee River Friday, June 28 through Sunday, June 30 as part of the Tennessee River Jam produced by the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce.
The popular Froggyfest 2019 will take place at Paris Landing State Park and will boast country artist, Joe Diffie. In addition to Diffie, the concert will include Confederate Railroad, the Kentucky Headhunters, Johnny Mac, and the Heart Attacks and American Idol alum Tristan McIntosh. That concert will begin at 4:00 pm on Saturday, June 29thand will last until approximately 11:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased online at www.froggy1037.com.
Starting Friday at lunch, local artists Ethan Torsak, followed by the Old Sprit’s, will perform at Ace’s Restaurant. Both groups play a wide variety of styles ranging from rock, blues, and country. That afternoon, at the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, check out an upcoming singer-songwriter duo from the Nashville area, Cherry Avenue. The Bethel University alumni sing a combination of original and cover tunes, predominately in the country genre. From there, stop by The Breakers to check out sets from locals Josh McKee and Johnny Mac as they open for the Wilson Brothers, who recently enjoyed a #1 video on CMT 12-Pack Countdown and over 2 million streams. There will be a $10 cover charge at the door for this concert. Not far from the Breakers, at Blues Landing, you will find the regional group of exceptionally talented musicians with the band, Stronghold. Later that night stop by LL’s Bar and Grill to hear local newcomer Nikki Bobo and the After Dark Band from Memphis. Her powerful vocals and stellar rhythm section have made quite a splash in the region. There will be a $12 cover charge at the door for this concert.
Kick off your Saturday morning with the friendly staff at Sweet Jordan’s and Henry County High graduate Lydia Shoemaker. For lunch, head back to the Breakers and see Tick Pony’s frontman, Keith Burns and Will Dakota.
In addition to Froggyfest that evening, Tayla Lynn and the SoulShine Band will be at Blues Landing. Tayla Lynn’s life could be a country song, which is no surprise considering she was born into the country music dynasty created by her grandmother, Loretta Lynn. She’s experienced success as songwriter and artist, most recently as a part of the trio Stealing Angels.
Also, that evening, check out River Dan and His Band at the Breakers. They play a raw blend of "Roots Music" combining soulful country, blues, rock, bluegrass, and Gospel, and their raucous musicianship is matched only by Dan's distinctive and powerful voice. There will be a $10 cover charge at the door for this concert.
Sunday features local favorites with Olivia Fay opening up for Johnny Mac and Randall French at the Breakers and 24 Seven rocking the house at Blues Landing.
“I can’t thank our partners enough,” commented Travis McLeese, Executive Director of the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce. “For this event to grow to this magnitude, with this variety of artist/genres in the first year, has truly been a team effort. It is our goal to provide an incredible experience at an affordable price.”
Each venue will handle cover charges or ticketing if it applies. For specific times, tickets, and other information visit the Tennessee River Jam website, www.tnriverjam.com.
The Tennessee River Jam is produced by the Paris Henry County Chamber of Commerce with Partnerships from Forever Communications, The Henry County Tourism Authority, and Paris Landing State Park. Corporate Sponsors for the event include First Bank, Trolingers, and Henry County Medical Center.