The arrival of autumn in Bladen County means one thing for sure— the Shriner’s annual fall fish fry.
On Wednesday, the Bladen County Shrine Club will be forking over the goods at two locations — the Food Lion parking lot in Elizabethtown and Fresh Foods IGA in Bladenboro.
For $8, diners will receive fried whiting fillet, cole slaw, hush puppies, a drink, and — of course — the Shriner’s famous sweet potato fries.
“Everybody does seem to like those,” said Shriner Phillip Little.
Their fish fry — also held in the spring, but only at one location — is traditionally so well supported that the site usually turns into — well, a parking lot. With tables and tents set up for eating on the premises, folks parking and walking up for takeout, a drive-thru option, and deliveries of 60 or 80 plates at the time going out to businesses or industries for delivery, the parking lots might very well see as much activity during those eight hours as they usually do in two weeks or more.
“I think one of the reasons people support it is because they know 100 percent of the profit goes to the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital,” reasoned Little. “We have a lot of folks that will come and buy an $8 ticket and just give us $10 or $20 or just come up and give us a donation. I think that’s the driving factor — it’s going to a good cause.”
While Little didn’t give a monetary goal for the day, he did say they’re still hoping for one thing.
“We want to sell out,” he said. “We’ll keep selling until we do.”
Based on last year’s numbers, the group has ordered 2,300 pounds of whiting. Last year, however, they did sell out.
“Some folks wait until later to come by, and they’re disappointed because we don’t have any more,” said Little. “My advice is to come early.”
Little said the event will take place rain or shine, because they’ll have plenty of tents set up for the drive-thru.
“To be quite honest, when we have had rain, it doesn’t affect sales much,” Little remarked. “We’re hoping for a cool, sunshiny day or a cool, cloudy day. When the weather gets cool, people like to eat fish.”
The Shriner’s fish fry will be held Wednesday, Oct. 12, from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.
“We appreciate the support Bladen County gives us, and we look forward to serving a good fish plate again this year,” said Little.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.