The Denver Catfish Festival began in the summer of 2003, when a good friend said, “we should have a fish fry next week.”

I happened to be perusing the supermarket ads the next day, and saw that catfish filets were on sale at the local pack-a-sack. Originally expecting about ten folks, we ended up with around thirty. We cooked catfish long into the night and still had twelve filets to go when suddenly we mysteriously lost power to the Frydaddy (an archaic, non-competitive frying device.)

A freak thunderstorm rustled up out of nowhere and, as many of the more timid guests  ran for cover, a gigantic bolt of lightning struck the Frydaddy directly.  With that blaze of heavenly lightning, the oil was miraculously heated to just the right temperature, 72 degrees Celsius, for us to fry those remaining twelve filets.

The brave few who weathered the storm and partook of those filets were never the same again, having gained the ability to see fish underwater without the use of polarized sunglasses.

Thus, the Denver Catfish Festival was born.

With thousands of attendees and hundreds of pounds of catfish filets fried, not to mention thousands of hush puppies (along with a lot of beer, whiskey, cigarettes, and sides consumed,) The Denver Catfish Festival has become a summer classic more culturally-relevant than Christmas, Easter, Arbor Day, July 4th, and Your Birthday all rolled in to one, and continues to affect each of the young and young-at-heart festivalgoers who attend each and every year in profound, mysterious, and far-reaching ways.


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