Archive | July, 2011

The Ninth Annual Denver Catfish Festival Wrap-Up

29 Jul

Counting down the moments to enlightenment.


Max's Banner remains timeless, due in no small part to a healthy supply of address number decals.


The Early Afternoon Session gets underway, complete with dogs, babies, and sweaty people. (Thanks to Brooks C., from whom I stole this and several other photos.)

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

The overwhelming scent of stale beer, cornmeal, cigarette butts, and rotting watermelon has finally exited the Catfish Festival Grounds and settled somewhere near Limon, and another fabulous Denver Catfish Festival has now receded into history.  And what a fantabulous day it was. 

 We had a whole bunch of people, on par with DCF7, and fried up 40 pounds of Itta Bena, Mississippi’s finest farm-raised catfish and hundreds of hush puppies.  The first filet hit oil at 1:12 PM MST, and we finished up the last of the Natchitoches Meat Pies at around 4:30 PM.  Catfish Festival After Dark ended (for the Chairman) at around 4 AM, but apparently things continued on until just before sunrise. 

MAJOR THANK YOU’s to the following amazing Festivalgoers:

  • Vanessa, Lindsey, Megan, Barbara, and Dalton, for once again being the greatest staff a festival could ever hope for.
  • Lindsey, for making an amazing catfish pinata!
  • Sous Chef Pilar D. for preparing all of the hush puppies and receiving RAVE reviews from the crowd, and sister Rochelle for helping with all of the food prep.
  • Mike Y. for bringing homemade Natchitoches Meat Pies.  They were incredible. 
  • Brooks C. for coming in all the way from Atlanta (Georgia, not Texas) and helping out tremendously with both setup and takedown.
  • Lisa H. for providing delicious Gulf coast boiled shrimp.  Also incredible.
  • Stephen T. for coming in with a homemade, home-grown Raspberry Pie. 
  • Jared D. for helping us clean up the piles of garbage and refuse on Black Monday.
  • Chris and Mike for the use of patio furniture, sawhorses, lumber, staples, and anything and everything else I can think of. 
  • Jon M. for repeatedly launching a giant water rocket thing hundreds of feet into the air to the joy of throngs of children.

The Catfish-Inspired Haiku contest was won by Tommy L., who tearfully took home “the first non-team trophy I’ve ever gotten” with this inspired and worthwhile gem:

Some flakey fish love,
that fits like a wonder glove,
with no glove no love!

Tommy has always insisted on making his Haiku rhyme.  While we’ve told him time and time again that rhyming is not a requirement, the judging committee felt that he’d stricken the perfect balance between responsibly-sexy hip-hop and concisely minimalist Japanese verse with this year’s entry.

Baking is for sissies--Pilar's badass hushpuppies get the full Death Star treatment.

The Ninth Annual Denver Catfish Festival VIP Experience was everything we’d hoped for. (Actually it was far more than we’d hoped for, considering the fact that the VIP Planning Committee had no idea what all it was going to entail until about two hours before festival time.)  A special up-close reserved seating area, Mimosa Fridge, private bar, master bathroom access, and prep-and-fry-your-own-catfish session made the VIP’s altogether better than other festivalgoers.

VIP Lanyards, designed by my shockingly talented eight year-old staff member and daughter.

We received the following testimonial after the Festival:

As one of the winners of the VIP Experience, I can’t tell you how happy I am that I entered.  So many fantastic things happened that I truly felt like a VIP.  The access to the cooking area alone was worth it.  For all of these years, watching the chairman bread and fry each tender catfish nugget, wondering what that feeling might be like.  And then to actually have the opportunity to bread and fry my own catfish….unbelievable.  The VIP seating area and reserved alcohol was an exceptional touch.  The VIP lanyards allowed me access to parts of the festival grounds that heretofore have been untouchable.  Just an incredible day.  I would tell anyone that they need to apply next year.

Thanks Chairman,


The two Ad-hoc VIP lanyards were awarded to Mike Y. and Tommy L.for bringing awesome meat pies and a very thoughtful birthday card.  Tommy had the added benefit of somehow convincing me that he deserved a lanyard because he is a very important person in every possible way.

Catfish Festival After Dark, from my somewhat spotty recollection, was a weird and blurry as always with many a colorful character providing laughs and confoundingly bizarre behavior.  There was also dancing and one or more broken bottles.  In any case, it was a blast.  Major thanks to everybody who stuck around, especially those who stuck around after the massive mosquito attack.

Many apologies to the Oklahoma and Ohio State fans who seemed a bit frustrated by our choice of video programming, but who doesn’t want to watch continuously-running National Championship DVD’s of LSU kicking the poo out of your respective schools while enjoying delicious catfish? 

This year’s Festival MVP goes to….The Bayou Classic Bayou Fryer 700-701.  Not only was it up to the task, but in a drastic and unforeseen turn-of-events, we actually found that we couldn’t prep food fast enough to keep up with it.  That thing is a monster.

We would be remiss if we didn’t offer our praise and admiration to the territorially-blind festivalgoers who tossed bottles into our elderly neighbors’ back yard.  It’s your can-do spirit and rugged individualism that conquered the West and continues to keep the American Dream alive and well!  Nothing says Catfish Festival like neighborly 8 AM apologies after three hours of sleep!

Thanks to everybody who came out and made this the best Denver Catfish Festival ever!!!

Still Life with Catfish.

Who knows?  Maybe you’ll be able to tell your grandkids that you attended the last of its kind.  For its tenth anniversary, The Denver Catfish Festival might be in need of some sort of major overhaul. 

Until then, football starts very, very soon.  The Bayou Classic Bayou Fryer 700-701 is cleaned, primed, and ready to fry Autumn Itself if necessary!


Joe T., Chmn.

“Ask Me About Still Being Hungry for Catfish Even Though We Just Fried Forty Pounds Of It.”



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