Archive | August, 2009

The Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival Wrap-up

3 Aug
We've done this seven times?  Man.  That seems like a lot.

We've done this seven times? Man. That seems like a lot.

Greetings, You Ebullient, Fun, and Downright Amazing Catfish Enthusiasts,

Well, the deed is done.  The dishes are finally clean, the 7,436 cigarette butts have been hand-picked from the yard, and the driveway, and the mulch, and the alley, and the front yard.  Most importantly, that disgusting garage is clean, we just finished the Wrap Dinner at a Mexican place around the corner, and The Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival is now officially in the books.

What a catfish festival it was.

Back in February of ’08, we came out to this spot to look at a lot to possibly build a house on.  It was cold, snowing actually, and we stood in a field of dirt surrounded by more fields of dirt.  I had a hard time visualizing anything like a house or neighborhood being here.  We went back to the sales office and took a look at the blueprints for the house that we would eventually purchase.  I studied the prints, noticing how the front yard and carport were connected by a door through the garage, allowing for flow and connectivity, and how the back yard was large enough to seat several people and could perhaps be used as a smoking area.  I thought about how the garage/carport could be cordoned off and used as a frying area, and how the alley could maybe be a good crowd overflow area.

Vanessa looked at me, as I studied the blueprints, and said, “you’re thinking about the catfish festival, aren’t you.”

As it turns out, I was right.  This place is perfect for a Catfish Festival.  And I can’t believe I’m going to say this (and I say it with all due respect to the former Denver Catfish Festival Grounds), but this is a actually a better venue, hands down.

What surprised me is that it did not turn out to be a better venue due to the layout; it’s a better venue because the people in this neighborhood enthusiastically through their full support behind the endeavor.  Without them, we would not have had the day we had.

The numbers work out thusly:

  • We fried twenty-five pounds of Itta Bina, Mississippi’s best farm-raised catfish (it didn’t come from Louisiana, I realize, but it was still good) in a Catfish Festival Record 4 hours flat.  We attribute the record to the fact that the cooking crew was completely isolated with barricades from the rest of the Fest (i.e. nobody could get in the way. I got my system…)
  • After a mid-fest headcount, we estimate that at around 4:30 PM, there were over 120 festivalgoers in attendance. Total through the gates was around 150-160.  That is not the largest ever (DCF5 still holds the record I think) but who the hell cares?  EVERYBODY HERE WAS COOL.
  • The first filet dropped at precisely 1:12 PM MT. It was darn close, but we made it.  The festival ended when the last of the stragglers crawled out of my Westfalia and took their haggard asses home on Sunday around noon.  In other words, this festival lasted nearly 24 hours.  That is most certainly a record.
  • We filled, to the top, three gigantic recycling containers full with bottles and cans.  We estimate, very conservatively, that at least 30 cases of beer went down the hatches, as well as quite a bit of wine, vodka, rum, and everything else under the sun.  That’s dedication.

The Denver Catfish Festival Haiku Contest Presented by Jagermeister was one of the best yet, with excellent submissions from a myriad of Catfish Enthusiasts around the country.  The winners are:


Christian H.:

Don’t fuck with me fish.

I am not from Havana.

I just want to eat.

This is Mr. H’s second Grand Prize Victory.  It just goes to show that when the man wants to express himself, nobody has better game.

(Chairman’s Note: I learned something about myself from this haiku.  Apparently, you don’t have to mention LSU to win–a Blazing Saddles reference does just as well.)


Charlie from Minnesota whose last name escapes me:

Catfish in Belly.

Got an Atomic buzz on.

Wait…What’s in my drawers?

Charlie came out of nowhere to take second place.  I had to talk him into submitting a Haiku on the morning of the festival.  Well played, sir.  Atomic Drawers references will always have you in the mix.


Carmencita L.:

Catfish named M.J.

Does it molest a tadpole?

Just a little boy.

Carmen is a former Grand Prize and a former Third Place Winner.  A fierce competitor, her Haikus are always topical, hilarious, and more than a little bit saucy.

Thanks to everybody who submitted Haikus; we at the Denver Catfish Festival believe that each and every poem we received is a work of art in its own right.  But please, remember, Haikus are five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables.

As has become tradition, it is impossible to name a single MVP for this years festival.


Northern Colorado Paper: The Official “Wipe YA Mouth, Hands, Face, Feet, Kids & ASS” product provider to the 2009 Denver Catfish Festival.  Thank you, John Carr, for providing cups, plates, napkins/dispensers, paper towels, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer.  Also, thanks to John for providing a cornhole game, and the resulting Denver Catfish Festival Cornhole Tournament that kept a lot of folks entertained until 3AM.

Thank You John!

Thank You John!

Jagermeister: The Official Corporate Sponsor of The Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival Haiku Competition. (Vanessa met a friend of a friend in Florida named Tim W. who is somehow connected with Jager.  She told him about the DCF and he gave her a whole crate of Jager apparel and various and sundry other promotional items.)

*An old friend saw all of the Jagermeister stuff and said, “Dude, pretty soon it’s going to be The Denver Catfish Festival Presented by Jack Daniels.”

One can certainly dream…

Vanessa, Lindsey, Megan, and Dalton T.: This Festival would not be possible without your love, support, and extremely hard work.  Vanessa, thanks to you and Melissa for finishing the Official T-shirts just in time!

The Geneva Convention: Here at Geneva Street and Geneva Court, we have the best neighbors ever.  Thanks for bringing food, extra tables, letting use your garages for storage, letting us steal your recycling containers, and generally being happy and willing participants in the whole damned thing.  Obviously this never would have happened without you.

Chip “Pretzel” M., Paul B., and Jared D.: These guys cleaned up the front yard very, very early on Sunday morning.  It was a job I was dreading, and it was done while I was peacefully dreaming of fried catfish.  Also, last week, Pretzel built an extension onto our deck to make getting in and out easier.  That’s right, he built part of our deck.   

*It must be noted that Pretzel is actually Vanessa’s sole MVP of the Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival.

Chip “Pretzel” M., Chris J., and Jared D.: These guys came to the rescue on Monday afternoon and helped with the dirty part of the job: cleaning up the cooking area, taking out ten bags of garbage, and helping me with all of the lovely and delicious used oil.  Thank You!

Webb C.: I was having a rough time with the hush puppy batter, and Webb had the idea of using an ice cream scoop.  I was skeptical at first, but damned if it didn’t work like a charm.

Neighbor Billy: Billy went and got two very important items as the sun retreated and Catfish Festival After Dark moved into full swing: citronella tiki torches and Amaretto.  Thanks man!

Carmencita L.: Those rangoons (or whatever they’re called) rocked.

Jenny M.: This fabulous lady took a million pictures and made awesome Broccoli and Cheese Cornbread.

Judy B.: Delicious Salsa (at least I think this is yours?)  I’m eating it as I type.

Chris L.: Denver’s Best Bartender showed up with a six pack of Red Stripe and a bottle of wine for the Chairman.  Thanks Chris!

Ken K.: Ken, a graphic designer, brought and sold bootleg Denver Catfish Festival T-shirts.  He sold out in about fifteen minutes.

Richard O’: The father-to-be was unabashedly fired up about fried catfish.  I think I watched him eat ten of the twenty-five pounds we cooked.

Gigi and Andrea C.: Thanks for being understanding people when I decided that it would not be a good idea for you two to use moonshine and plastic shot glasses to make Flaming Dr. Peppers in my kitchen at midnight.  I appreciate you two being good sports.

Eric S.: Boone’s Farm.  ‘Nuf said.

John A., The Most Interesting Man in the World: A courageous run to the liquor store for a case of Miller Lite for the Chairman around 9PM.

Pilar C.: You are a cool, cool lady.

Chris and Jane: Much-needed patio furniture complete with umbrella during the hottest part of the day.

Jared D. and Charlie from Minnesota: The cornhole games on the neutral ground next to the house were outstanding.  Of course I dug the purple and gold color scheme, but a Tiger would have looked much better than a Viking.

Thanks to Billy V. and Pretzel (again) for all of their help setting up Friday night. We couldn’t have pulled it off without you.

To every single person who came out, old friends and new, we truly appreciate your being a Catfish Enthusiast and an outstanding Festivalgoer.  Thank you.

Excuse me for gushing like a new age hippie, but I think the vibe at this year’s festival was the best ever.  With more new faces than we’ve ever had as well as so many Catfish Festival Elders and Veterans, we had a perfect mix.

Well, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts, that’s it.

Now…It’s 33 days until the Tigers kick off.  And, it’s never too early to start planning our first Mardi Gras Party in Ten Years.


Joe T., Chmn.

“Ask Me About The Eighth Annual Denver Catfish Festival, but wait until after football season.”


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