Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fried Catfish, Party Mints and Mini Me ... All in Paris, Tenn.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 11:10 AM

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Folks in Paris, Tenn. — just two hours west, beside Kentucky Lake — have already been gearing up for the town’s biggest event of the year for months. But this weekend marks the beginning of the most fun for attendees of the World’s Biggest Fish Fry, and festivities will continue throughout the week and into next weekend. There’s a demolition derby, carnival, catfish race, parades and even a rodeo. And, of course, a lot of catfish. Fried catfish.

If you’re just now hearing about this event, the likelihood that you’ll be able to find a place to stay to hang out for the entire week is not great. Hotels and campgrounds get booked months in advance (though it's still worth checking).

So here’s a list of the highlights that are worth a day trip, particularly if you’re a fan of fried catfish:

The Fish Tent
No longer actually in a tent, this event is so large now that it occupies an entire building at the Henry County Fairgrounds. Starting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, $12 will get you all-you-can-eat fresh fried catfish and all the appropriate sides (hush puppies, cole slaw, white beans and French fries, if you are new to the phenomenon of the fish fry). The fish tent will be open at 5 p.m. the following night as well and at 11 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The tent closes at 9 p.m. each evening.

The Grand Parade
One of two parades, this one — starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 26, features grand marshal Verne Troyer. As in, the actor who played Mini Me in the Austin Powers movies and Griphook the Goblin in the Harry Potter movies. Apparently, Troyer and his family enjoy spending vacations in the area, so he was happy to serve in the parade.

The Small Fry Parade
A much smaller parade than the Grand Parade, this one takes place Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. and features miniature floats and costumed children. But just because it’s not “grand,” don’t think it’s not something to see. It’s also a competition that folks (literally: my cousins, The Folkses) take very seriously. It's cuter than a duck's butt.

The full schedule of events is listed here on the official World’s Biggest Fish Fry website.

And while you’re in town, be sure to stop by Sally Lane’s Candy Farm. Tennessee Cooperator published this story about the Sally Lane's recently, which documents its beginning as well as the operations by the current owners. The pink and green mints were staples at all my family’s events back in the day, so I can attest to the quality (and deliciousness). It's a stop worth making.

World's Biggest Fish Fry
Henry County Fairgrounds (and other locations)
Paris, Tenn.
April 20-28, 2013

Sally Lane's Candy Farm
Original location: 3335 Highway 79 N.
and also 2215 Gum Springs Road
Paris, Tenn., 38242

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