We will cry 96 tears if we can’t answer your question.

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

As has become tradition, inquisitive festivalgoers pose any and all sorts of questions to The Chairman as the Catfish Festival approaches.  We’ll list all of the Q’s and A’s on this page.  Enjoy!

(If you have a question that must be answered, please send it to denvercatfishfestival (at) gmail (dot) com. We’ll answer in two shakes of a catfish’s tail.)



“Dearest Chairman,

Why are giant jars of dill pickles given to haiku contest winners?


Dear “Curious,”

While we are currently quite busy putting together the final touches of what will surely be the greatest Denver Catfish Festival ever, we feel that your question has merit and deserves an answer.

The pickle has long been a staple of fried seafood events and celebrations.  One only need look as far as known Catfish lover (and ancestor of the Chairman) Bill Shakespeare for its basis, in the catfish fry* scene of “The Tempest”:

King Alonso asks the jester Trinculo, “How camest thou in this pickle?”

Trinculo, drunk and definitely in trouble, responds,”I have been in such a pickle since I saw you last…”

Theater patrons of the time recognized the connection between fried catfish and pickles, and a tradition was born!  Numerous historical texts have given witness to the fact that outside of The Globe and The Rose theaters, catfish fries were common as part of tailgate parties before and after performances of Shakespeare’s plays, and the delicious scent of fried catfish and hush puppies often wafted through the cobbled Elizabethan streets of London.

Therefore, in honor of William Shakespeare, Poet, and the tradition he began so many years ago, we offer a giant jar of pickles in recognition of our own festivalgoing poets and their inimitable penchant for verse!




Back in ought-five, Mrs. Chairman was involved with her school’s summer carnival, and was in charge of selling ice-cold pickles to patrons at the event.  Anticipating a run on pickles, we procured a Chairman’s ransom in big jars of dill pickles from the local Sam’s Club and were well-prepared for the onslaught of carnival attendees and their insatiable desire for our fair product.

Lamentably, the crowds never came.  Afterwards, once the disappointment had subsided, your Chairman asked, “what in the hell are we going to do with eight giant jars of dill pickles?”

Mrs. Chairman responded, “We could give them away as Haiku contest prizes.”

A tradition was born.  And what better way to finish off a plate of delicious deep-fried, farm-raised Catfish than with a brightly crisp dill pickle and an ice-cold Miller Lite to wash it down with?

“Curious,” we appreciate your inquiry and can’t wait to see you at the 2016 Denver Catfish Festival!

*Chairman’s note:   The fish fry as setting for Act 5, Scene 1 was edited out of “The Tempest” after Shakespeare’s death due to pressure from powerful English fish-and-chips interest groups who saw the cornmeal-battered catfish as a superior to battered cod, and therefore a threat to business.



“Dear Mr Chairman,

Another seemingly irrelevant question has arisen from the New Orleans contingent, even though we’re not able to attend the festival. We’re just dying to know. What’s the significance of 1:12 Mountain Time?

Inquiring minds want to know.

CR & Liz”



Dear “CR and Liz,”

“Mr. Chairman?”  Mr. Chairman is my father’s name.  Please call me “Dear Chairman.”

Your inquiry is valid and appreciated, and deserves a full response:

After extensive research (dating back to the mid-1800′s) 1:12 PM, on a sunny summer afternoon one mile above sea level, has been proven to be the time of day at which ambient temperature and atmospheric pressures combine to create perfect initial frying conditions for the Holy Trinity of Catfish, Cornmeal, and Vegetable Oil.

Also, per detailed translations of Aztec cultural artifacts, 1:12 PM on the Aztec Calendar is known as “Tchtichuala Mixchco,” or “Catfish Time.”

Furthermore, as you are certainly aware, 1:12 PM is exactly 72 minutes past 12:00 Noon. In numerological terms, the number 72 has a long and storied past as it relates to Catfish Culture. Coincidence? You be the judge:

–A globular cluster of stars in the Constellation Aquarius is named “M72.”

–72 is the number of names for God according to Kabbalah. (Kabbalah followers are catfish freaks.)

–In 1972, the Miami Dolphins were the only NFL team to go undefeated (a team sometimes known as the “Fish,” even though Dolphins are mammals, and don’t fry up nearly as well as Catfish.)

–There are 72 hours in three days, the amount of time that some Denver Catfish Festivals have been known to last, most notably the Third Annual and Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festivals. (But you knew that already, Liz and CR.)

–Glenn Dorsey, former LSU Football star and outspoken Catfishionado, wore #72 while at LSU.

–In Fisheries Finance, Magic Number 72 divided by the % rate of return = number of years required to double your original Catfish investment.

–In times of natural disaster, the Department of Homeland Security recommends that citizens have 72 hours worth of Fried Catfish on hand.

–72 degrees is considered both normal room temperature as well as the precise “zero temperature” at which Hush Puppies must be consumed before they become stale and inedible (after that they have to be wrapped in a wet paper towel and microwaved for 72 seconds.)

–Speaking of Hush Puppies, 72 is the maximum number of Hush Puppies that can be fried in one hour in a standard 1 gallon fryer.

–”Catfish Savannah,” a delicious Fried Catfish with Bell Pepper and Onion Sauce recipe, is currently the 72nd most popular seafood recipe on

–In the 2007 LSU-Mississippi State football game, sometimes known as the “Catfish Bowl,” Jacob Hester, Shreveport Native and lover of Catfish, led all rushers with 72 yards.

–What do Nicole Eggert, Alyssa Milano, Catherine McCormack, Selma Blair, Rebecca Gayheart, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jenny McCarthy, Amanda Peet, and Angie Harmon all have in common? They’re all talented and interesting (just like catfish) and they were all born in 1972.

–The 1972 World Series–The Oakland A’s defeated the Cincinnati Reds in seven games.

The winning Pitcher in Game 7?


***And in a stunning turn of events that can only be described as The Catfishtrodamus Effect, please take special note of the date of The Tenth Annual Denver Catfish Festival:

7-21-12, or

72   112.

Again, Co-Weenkee-Deenk?

Liz and CR, we at the Denver Catfish Festival hope that we’ve answered your question to your satisfaction; thank you for sending it.


Dearest Chairman,

Hi there – I am sure that we will be partaking in the ever so low key catfish festival this year to celebrate the 10th year – although on ORIGINS is states it started the summer of 2003…hmmm…makes you think!


Book of Love Fan


Dear Book of Love Fan:

We at the Denver Catfish Festival appreciate your strict adherence to the rules of mathmatics and of time, as evidenced by your painstakingly precise and professional perusal of our little corner of The Internets.

This particular conundrum has come up several times in the past (see the “HISTORY” page for the Fourth/Fifth Annual Catfish Festival naming debacle) and has been the subject of some contention amongst a small but vocal contingent of Catfish Festival historians.

With these factors in mind, let’s remove any element of doubt regarding Catfish Festival timing so that everyone can enjoy a safe, happy, and metaphysically-gratifying Tenth Annual Denver Catfish Festival:

As you have noted, the First Annual Denver Catfish Festival took place in 2003.  We can define this event as Year Zero for our purposes.  With this year marking the Tenth Annual Denver Catfish Festival, we are celebrating our tenth festival, falling at the end of Year Nine. You are correct in stating that it has, in fact, been nine calendar years since that initial celebration; however, this year’s Denver Catfish Festival will send us into our tenth year of existence.   And if we were on a planet with a smaller or larger orbit than our Earth, we would have to account for variation of length of that particular orbit as well, although it could be argued that we would be basing our calculations on that celestial body’s year rather than an Earth year (this has been discussed in committee, but no comprehensive policy guideline has yet been announced.)  Were we celebrating The Denver Catfish Festival near an extremely massive object such as a black hole or supermassive star, time would, according to theoretical physics, slow down and create scheduling headaches with regard to the first filet hitting oil, the deadline for Catfish-inspired Haiku submissions, and onset of Catfish Festival After Dark; furthermore, we have found through years of on-site research that cornmeal-breaded catfish filets reach a state of perfection after approximately 72 seconds in 380 degree cooking oil. So obviously it is important that we remove all of these factors and variances from the Year Zero/Year Nine/Tenth Year definitions. 

For dogs that have attended the Denver Catfish Festival, the math gets quite fuzzy, depending upon whether you believe in the Seven Years theory or the Declining Dog Years theory.  For the stars of the show, the Mighty Catfish, precious little research has been done as to our delicious friends’ perception of time, but it should be noted that some catfish live to be 60 years of age, spending the last fifteen to twenty lamenting about how things were better in the Old Days, yelling at C-SPAN, and catching earlybird dinner buffets.  The lucky Mississippi catfish that we will be frying up are generally between two and six years of age when they are martyred for our cause–old enough to have been around, but not so old as to become…bitter.

We agree, Book of Love Fan, that it really does make you think.  Keep on Touchin’ Roses!  We hope we’ve answered your question, and anxiously watch the seconds tick away as we anticipate your stunning arrival at The Tenth Annual Denver Catfish Festival!


Joe T., Chmn.

“Ask Me About The Perception of Time As It Relates To The Tenth Annual Denver Catfish Festival!”


Dearest Chairman,

Are there plans to launch a mobile app  for those that like to access catfish updates on-the-go??




Dear D-Fry,

As you’re probably aware, technology is a rapidly-evolving beast.  We at The Denver Catfish Festival believe that the mobile revolution, i.e. use of cellular telephones and the like, has already become an archaic mode of communication. 

We instead have embarked on a journey into the cutting-edge world of nanocornmeal technology.  Soon, and without consent, quite possibly at the Ninth Annual Denver Catfish Festival, a microscopic implant will be strategically placed deep within your brain’s hunger receptors.  This implant will be activated remotely whenever we fry delicious Louisiana farm-raised catfish, and will create a tiny and relatively painless electric shock which will notify your conscious mind that it’s catfish time!  In our latest tests, the device appears to be effective to a radius of 100 miles. In later applications, we hope to be able to send verbal messages, play music, offer Gregorian chants, etc. so that you’ll get to experience the Denver Catfish Festival the way our schizophrenic friends currently do!

 We hope we’ve answered your question, and can’t wait to implant…uh, see you, at the Ninth Annual Denver Catfish Festival!


Joe T., Chmn.


Dear Mr. Chairman:

Are there really man-eating catfish in rivers in India, and can I wrestle one in a tank and then consume it at the event this year?




Dear David:

Contrary to popular belief, there are no man-eating catfish in the rivers of Inda; only women hapazardly doing laundry, discarded funeral pyres, and Holy men which the local Gharial crocodiles consider to be gamey, stringy, and lacking flavor.  (They are generally only consumed as between-cow snacks.) 

The giant catfish of the Mekong Delta, however, have been known to swallow men.  Strangely enough, it is only the adolescent giant catfish who do so; scientific research shows that this strange behavior only occurs when a fully active member of the giant Mekong catfish fraternity forces a younger member to do so as an instinctive form of hazing.

It is my unfortunate duty to inform you that due to ongoing economic uncertainty, the cost involved in transporting a giant Mekong catfish to The Denver Catfish Festival is currently prohibitive; furthermore, the adolescents are in finals that week. 

We hope we’ve answered your questions and can’t wait to see you at The Denver Catfish Festival!   

–Joe T., Chmn.   




Dear Mr. Chairman:

To date, your splendid event has had an air of rebellion, a genuine redneck counter-culture feel to it. So imagine my dismay when I received my DCF coozies in the mail, accompanied with the VERY CORPORATE SELLOUT- LOOKING packing slip depicted in the attached photograph. A downtown mailing office suite?  A 1-800 number?

Sure, we all chuckled as the DCF received loose sponsorships from such corporate megaliths as Miller Lite and that paper company that provided the napkin holders or whatever, and maybe the guy that did the hotrod catfish shirt for the 7th Annual DCF.  But now I must wonder if the DCF has already or will soon become a mass-marketed corporate shell of its whiskey-soaked former self, and thus a victim of its own runaway success.  To this future I say Hell No.

Please assure me that my patronage to your esteemed event through the purchase of dry goods (which are quite functional and sleek, I might add) is serving to provide for the betterment of catfish everywhere and to promote global understanding of the catfish lifestyle – not merely to provide for a golden parachute strapped to the backs of our trusted Chairpeople.


David A. Lamb

P.S.  The writer hereby invokes all protections afforded to him pursuant to the Federal Whistleblower Protection Act.


Dear David A. Lamb,

Does this mean your corporation is pulling its sponsorship?


Joe T., Chmn.

“Ask Me About Sponsorship and Promotional Packages for The Eighth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”



Dear Chairman:

WTF? OMG! I haven’t submitted my haiku yet. Am I screwed?

-Anxious on Alton St.


Dear Anxious,

Thank you for your question.  Are you screwed?  I must say both no and also yes, but not in the way that you are probably thinking.

Please read the following carefully:

Per the Catfish Festival FAQ’s, Haiku submissions are accepted up until 3:00 PM MST on the day of the festival; therefore, you have plenty of time to conjure up your own literarily-disciplined verbal image of the fabled catfish.  In this respect, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you are not screwed.

However, to say you are screwed would also be correct, but only in the sense that a temporary lapse of attention (or perhaps a mild reading comprehension disorder of some sort) has led to your question.

I suggest that you take a quiet moment and a very deep breath then re-read the FAQ’s.  Sit back in a comfortable chaise on this unseasonably cool July morning with your favorite blanket.  Wash down some ADHD medication with a glass of tawny port, then grab a pen and paper.  Ponder the meaning of deep-fried catfish, then express your thoughts.

I think you’ll find that things will work themselves out, but only if your attention span allows.

Now get to work, Anxious, and I’ll see you at the Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival!


Joe T., Chmn.


Fryer Tuck

Our first such question of this year comes from the DCF4 Haiku Contest Winner:

Dear Chairman

I would like to bring other fried goods to the catfish festival. These things are neither cats nor fish deepfried. I can bring my own deep fryer too. Would that be okay?

Peace out!


Dear Peace Out,

You are more than welcome to bring your own unique and delicious fried dishes to The Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival; ours is an all-inclusive merrymaking and we welcome strange and different cuisines as a way of broadening our culinary appreciation;


1. We will need proper documentation that your edible offering is neither cat nor fish, for reasons dealing with liability, quality control and Rocky Mountain Oyster avoidance.

2. Your dish must be cooked before you bring it. We fry catfish and hushpuppies (as well as the occasional ”guest fish,” i.e. Alaskan Halibut, Gulf Redfish, and the like).  We have a lot of catfish to fry, and cannot use up valuable counter space and cooking time because somebody felt guilty about just bringing beer (NEVER feel guilty about that!) and stopped at the corner grocery for a frozen bag of chicken nuggets.

4. We welcome prepared dishes off all sorts. And Peace Out, if I recall correctly, you brought a noodle dish of some sort to DCF3 that was a crowd favorite.  Kudos!

5. Your frying device is most certainly welcome, but will be confiscated by the Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival staff and used exclusively for our frying purposes (again, catfish and hushpuppies) and returned to you at a later date.  The cleaning of the device will be your responsibility.

Peace Out, We truly appreciate your willingness to sacrifice your fryer and look forward to your exquisite, delicious, disclosed, and prepared pot luck submissions at The Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival!


Joe T., Chmn.

“Ask Me Anything about The Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival”


This question comes from another DCF Haiku medalist, DL:

Dear Chairman:




Dear “DAL,”

We at The Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival share your babbling and long-winded excitement regarding this year’s shindig, and who wouldn’t?  It’ s going to be bigger and better than ever.

And while I certainly do agree with you that angst is only natural regarding the conjuring of heartfelt, geniune, and grammatically-correct haiku submissions, I think you’ll find that a long stroll by a pond stocked with delicious catfish will insure a productive visit by your muse, and you’ll be in fine writing condition in no time.

And sure, while the Catfish Festival does signal the swan song weeks of a memorable summer, rest easy Gentle “DAL,” for football season shall be upon us in no time, and we’ll all be able to “ride the TIGERS” to victory each and every week through the beginning of 2010!


Joe T., Chmn.


Dear Sir,

I am looking forward to this wonderful experience, but I have question. Due to the overload of excitement and activities that will be found at the festival, will there be medical providers on hand to take of our every bodily need? Thank you for your help.

Yours truly,

Very Concerned.


Dear “Very Concerned,”

Define “Every bodily need.”  This is a family festival, open to all ages.  We at the Denver Catfish Festival suggest that you take care of at least some of your bodily needs, the very private ones especially, before and/or after your attendance.   We do provide bathrooms on premises for the Ladies and Lil’ festivalgoers,  and a Port-O-Potty for the Gentlemen.

Regarding medical staffing, we do have a robust supply of band-aids and whiskey.  If there is a need for anything more, Fitzsimmons Medical Center is a short hop and a skip away.

We hope this answers your questions, and we look forward to seeing you at the Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival!


Joe T., Chmn.


Dear Chairman,Did you know that you have scheduled your festival on the same day that thenewest and last edition of the Harry Potter series will be coming out? Do youthink this will adversely effect festival attendance?

Perhaps you could include a reading of the new title at some time during the festival… Read or Eat Fish?



Dear Unsigned Concerned Catfish Enthusiast,

Allow us to get right to the point. If a lost Mark Twain text was uncovered and released on the date of the Catfish Festival, we would have more than sufficient reason to reschedule, or at the very least to integrate such an earth-shattering event into the Denver Catfish Festival itself. It is of our opinion that our diminutive yet resolute Festival invokes the spirit of Huckleberry Finn, embodying virtues of blazing independence, youthful innocence, and of the sanctity of water. And the sanctity beer (made from water?) And the sanctity of catfish.

Were a body to be rummaging through dusty boxes at a Mississippi estate sale and come upon an unknown handwritten Faulkner manuscript (“A Catfish for Emily,” perhaps? One can only dream…), and it was decided that the work be unleashed upon the public on the same day as The Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival, a reading from said text would certainly be of the highest order.

And if Ernest Hemingway, who in all of his battles with nature never once described an epic tussle with a spirited catfish, had that very manuscript found and released on July 21, 2007, we would be at odds with our philosophy if we did not raise a can and a hush puppy to Papa.

However, To our knowledge, and correct us if we’re wrong, the Potter character has never once even stopped for a bite of delicious catfish; he has never left Hogwarts with his cane pole, a bucket of crickets, and a six-pack of cold Millers to spend a sunny afternoon at the pond pulling ‘em in. We at the Denver Catfish Festival consider this glaring omission to be a direct affront by the author. Popular culture phenomena such as the Harry Potter series come and go, and their effects on our consciousness are narrow and short-lived. The catfish, however, has been with us for millions of years and shows no signs of going away any time soon. Therefore it is the ruling of this board that no special considerations nor concessions shall be made concerning the coincidental release of this particular book; furthermore, if any prospective attendees decide to stay home and read instead of coming to the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival, their company shall not be missed (obviously).

We hope that we’ve answered your question, and can’t wait to see you at the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival!

Now stop worrying about Harry Potter, and write a Haiku!


Joe T., Chmn.


8 Responses to “ASK-THE-CHAIRMAN”

  1. Chip Millerfishmansteingruber July 2, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    You want I should bring any fry fish stuff from up in Louisiana, holmes?

  2. joetiger July 2, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    Dear Chip Millerfishmansteingruber,

    Thank you for your offer! We at the Denver Catfish Festival are always looking for new and exciting products from the Great State of Louisiana and welcome anything that you’d like to provide; however, we at The Denver Catfish Festival have our own in-house fish fry recipe that tends to work out pretty well.

    With that in mind, if you could transport 100 Shrimp Buster po-boy’s from Herby K’s restaurant, we’d appreciate it.

    Joe T., Chmn.

    • Chip Millerfishmansteingruber July 4, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

      Uhh, o.k. din, you want marinated crab claws w/ dat?

  3. Lisa Huffman July 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Dear Chairman:

    I’m currently seeing someone that doesn’t eat catfish.. nor for that matter booze or cigarettes. How fast should I dump him?

    Sincerely –
    Lost in Nofunland

  4. Carmen July 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

    Did you know that ronald reagan designated national catfish june 25? It’s on wikipedia so it must be true.



    […] ASK THE CHAIRMAN […]

  2. It’s Time for Me to Fry « THE DENVER CATFISH FESTIVAL - July 13, 2011

    […] ASK-THE-CHAIRMAN […]

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