The World’s Biggest Fish Fry, held annually the last full week of April in Paris, Tennessee, revolves around the “Fish Tent” where by last account over 12,500 pounds of catfish is served with all the trimmings. In addition to all you can eat catfish, the event offers parades, a carnival, rodeos, catfish races, dances, arts and crafts, a bed race, chalk crawl and other family-friendly activities.
“Fish Fry” evolved from “Mule Day”, which originated in 1938. 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 1950s the Chamber of Commerce took over “Mule Day” complete with a parade and beauty queens. When the tractor began to replace the mules the Chamber contemplated another event to replace “Mule Day”.
In 1953, the Chamber held the first “Fish Fry”. The event was not as successful as hoped. The fish were not from Kentucky Lake and didn’t live up to the palates of the fish eating public. The parade was short and the event was held at the E.W. Grove High School's Barton Field for only one day and night.
In 1961 the Paris-Henry County Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) took over the “Fish Fry” from the Chamber of Commerce, and since then, the festival has grown unbelievably from 1,600 pounds of catfish cooked to over 5 tons of catfish and a two-hour grand parade.
The annual event is held at the Henry County Fairgrounds located at 517 Royal Oak Drive in Paris. For more information, visit www.worldsbiggestfishfry.com.