Sign touting Paris, Tennessee, as the "Home of the World's Biggest Fish Fry" Photo: Dieter C. Ullrich
World's Biggest Fish Fry
This annual festival in Paris, Tennessee, was
originally called "Mule Day" when it began in 1938. Mule Day
was sponsored by the local newspaper, the
Intelligencer, to encourage local farmers to come to town
on the first Monday in April to trade their mules and farm
animals, shop, and visit with their friends. With the advent
and popularity of tractors on the family farm, the selling of
mules declined significantly. The Henry County Chamber of
Commerce acquired the "mule day" event, and replaced it with a
Fish Fry in 1953. The event was not as successful as it might
have been if the fish were caught locally, rather than shipped
in from other parts of the country. However, the annual Fish
Fry continued and grew.
In 1961, the Paris-Henry County Jaycees took over the
event and extended its name to "World's Biggest Fish Fry." For the
event, Jaycees cooked more than 1,600 pounds of catfish, and
sponsored several events. In 1998, the week-long festival held five
beauty pageants, a street dance, a carnival, a rodeo, an arts and
crafts show, an auto show, two parades, and cooked more than 13,000
pounds of catfish! More than 100,000 people attended.
Documentation includes a 1999 souvenir program
booklet, newspaper clippings, and photographs.
Originally submitted by: John S. Tanner, Representative (8th District).
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