Paris Fish Fry
Paris is home of the "World's Biggest Fish Fry". The festival is held every year and culminates on a weekend, on the last full week in April, with a parade, an art and craft fair, a rodeo and a fun fair . Part of the festivities include the "catfish races." There is a sign which features a roughly 20-foot (6.1 m) long catfish that can be seen when entering the town from the south on U.S. Highway 79. As Kentucky lake is only a 20 minute drive away from downtown, fishing is a popular activity
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 1950's, the Chamber of Commerce took over "Mule Day" and the tractors took 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 taken 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. The "Fish Fry" was starting to grow too much for the Chamber to handle, so the Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) took over the event, taking the name of "World's Biggest Fish Fry," an event that truly lives up to its name.
Since 1961, the "World's Biggest Fish Fry" has grown considerable - from 1,600 pounds 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" unites the community in many ways. Community involvement by attending one of the five beauty pageants, buying souvenirs, eathing 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 by trying new and different things, increased attendance, more catfish served, and more community involvement.
The Paris-Henry County Jaycees hope to make the "World's Biggest Fish Fry" bigger and better each year.