Local Festival Plagued with Problems

5/28/13 9:15 MDT

DENVER (AP) It has been hailed as the Late-Summer Classic, adored by effervescent celebrities and poor commoners alike.  It’s been in action for eleven straight July’s and is widely considered to be a true hidden gem of the summer food festival circuit. It has produced Haiku Champions, MVP’s, and smiling faces young and old throughout its colorful history.

But it’s been a rough year for The Denver Catfish Festival.

The alarming rash of problems has been both systemic and simply unlucky.  Beginning with the failure to crown a Catfish-inspired Haiku Contest Champion at the Tenth Annual Denver Catfish Festival last summer and continuing over the winter with the mental unraveling of a winter caretaker and subsequent ecological disaster, then culminating most recently with a union lawsuit alleging unsafe working conditions, The Denver Catfish Festival finds itself a victim of its own bloated, crapulent ambition.

Sources close to the Festival report that the Haiku incident was the result of glitches in a new scheduling format: “They took a break from frying at around 2 PM then revved things back up at 4.  The Chairman was focused on frying delicious farm-raised catfish and mouth-watering hush puppies, all the while quaffing 40 oz. bottles of OE 800.  The Haiku Contest announcement was supposed to be at 5:23, as is tradition, but they just let the time slip away.  By the time an assistant mentioned that a Haiku Champ had not been crowned, the Festival was well into the “Catfish Festival After Dark” phase, and there was no way the haikus could be rated…The Catfish Festival Haiku Judging Committee couldn’t even stand up.  The whole thing hit the competitors pretty hard.  These contestants work their tails off on those haikus.  They felt robbed–and rightly so.”

The oft-reported January oil spill at the Catfish Festivalgrounds was due in no small part to poor vetting of prospective applicants.  All Denver Catfish Festival employees are forced to endure a comprehensive and demanding screening process in which mental toughness and purity of spirit are key attributes.  The winter caretaker was apparently hired on-the-fly and did not take part in the usual six-interview hiring process, resulting in a tragic spilling of five gallons of golden vegetable oil, as well as the loss of his own sanity.  The EPA charged The Denver Catfish Festival with seventeen individual violations, which if proven could cost the Festival millions of dollars in fines.

Yesterday news leaked that the Catfish Handlers Union Members, or CHUM (Local #72) has filed suit against the Denver Catfish Festival for unsafe working conditions after an accident on Saturday in which a laborer fell of off the top of a ladder at the Festivalgrounds, bumping his head slightly and tweaking his knee.   Said union boss Herman Troutt, “They had our guys working seven feet off the ground without safety equipment or harnesses or helmets or anything.  It’s a wonder nobody was killed.  Our union exists to protect our guys from this very type of deplorable work environment.  I mean, this guy’s knee is really bugging him.  The bump on his head actually made him smarter, though.”

So how does the venerable Denver Catfish Festival rebound?  Nobody knows for sure.  The reclusive Chairman, with his ever more erratic and nonsensical behavior, could not be reached for comment.  Said an assistant, “Rest assured, we will get through this rough patch, and The Chairman will respond in a time and place of his own choosing. Once he emerges from his nightly hyperbolic chamber treatments, we’ll see if we can get him to forgo today’s cry therapy session and take care of some business.  We have no further comment.”




NCAA Issues Statement of Inquiry Into Possible Recruiting Violations

INDIANAPOLIS (AP)–At a press conference in Indianapolis this morning, NCAA spokesman Gary Meismul announced that the NCAA is looking into questions of impropriety with regard to recruiting practices among several entities.

“This investigation is not specifically due to recent allegations in the media,” Meismul stated, “but the NCAA does not operate within a vacuum.  We realize that to insure fair competition, we must follow our procedures to make certain that the playing field is level.”

While not going into specifics, Meismul did give a list of subjects of the inquiry.

“With any investigation, we basically do an audit of paper trails and electronic archives as well as conducting personal interviews.  We’ll be sending investigators to specific areas to carry out the leg work.”

Up first for NCAA (National Catfish Advancement Association) investigators will be a stay in Denver, Colorado, where they’ll be looking into the inner workings of The Denver Catfish Festival, and into allegations that The DCF has been operating a “pay-for-fry” operation.

The allegations stem from an Outdoor Life Channel investigative story in which members of a Caddo Lake school of catfish claimed that they were given “$500 fin shakes” from DCF boosters while attending summer workouts at the DCF training pools in Stapleton, Colorado.

In a statement released this afternoon, Festival Chairman Joe T. called the claims “outrageous” and “complete and utter horse shit.”

“We at The Denver Catfish Festival have no need to pay catfish; we respect the amateur status of all who choose to be fried by us.  And while we at the DCF would never, ever point fingers, and have the utmost respect for other catfish festivals, the NCAA should have their microscope focused on the Tuscaloosa Catfish Festival.  Those guys are a bunch of cheating bastards.”

With a lengthy investigation coming, any sanctions would probably not be handed down until well after…

July 23rd, 2011, at 1:12 PM MDT, when THE NINTH ANNUAL DENVER CATFISH FESTIVAL takes off like a cornmeal-fueled rocketship of transcendental magnanimity!

We at The Denver Catfish Festival are also proud to announce The Ninth Annual Denver Catfish Festival VIP Experience raffle!  Two lucky winners will have the world on a catfish- and hushpuppy-loaded paper plate for the entirety of DCF9.  Details and entry information coming soon!


Joe T., Chmn.

“Ask Me About The Ninth Annual Denver Catfish Festival!”




Plans for Aquatic-Themed Amusement Park Scuttled Due to Economic Downturn


By Brendan Steinbitter,  Special to the Associated Press

DENVER (AP)–It was to offer a  formidable challenge the reigning royalty of Denver family  entertainment, Elitch’s, The Downtown Aquarium, and Lakeside Amusement  Park.  The blueprints called for a massive parcel of land six miles east  of downtown to be transformed from rolling windswept hills of switch  grass into a singular marquee attraction meant to draw visitors from all  over the world.  It was to be the Jewel of the Front Range.

The  vision, staggering in scope, called for the following amenities:

  • A  720-room luxury hotel with full casino and wedding chapel.
  • Four  restaurants of varying styles.
  • Two motels of lesser luxury.
  • An  amusement park with thrill rides galore, including several  rollercoasters and a Matterhorn.
  • Two seven-acre fishing  lakes featuring free cane poles and stink bait.
  • Seven  uniquely-themed karaoke bars.
  • An 8,000 square foot soundstage  for the performance and broadcast of a weekly radio/XM variety show.
  • One  five million gallon aquarium.
  • A towering 72-foot tall water/mud  slide.
  • “Bottom Feeder Experience,” an interactive guest  excursion featuring transparent submarines trolling the murky lower  churns of the fishing lakes.
  • One trailer park.

But  like so many dreams before, it was all for naught. The Great Recession  stopped “CatfishDenver Mud Park Resort” cold in its tracks.   While city powers did give enthusiastic approval of the idea mainly due  to the economic impact and forecast creation of an estimated 10,000  jobs, there were budgetary concerns as far back as the planning stages.

“We  had earmarked around $700 for the initial construction budget, but soon  found that we’d need a bit more.  The generous and wealthy government  of Louisiana offered a $2 billion high-interest adjustable rate loan  which we were more than happy to receive; however, political influences  beyond our control ended with the State of Louisiana’s retraction of the  offer.  Apparently the powers-that-be were pretty upset over the  University of Colorado backing out of the 2011/2012 home-and-home  football agreement with LSU.  Colorado bumped LSU so they could play  Fresno State instead.  There was no way Louisiana would or could support  a Colorado-based catfish them park after such a grave insult,” said the  despondent Chairman of The CatfishDenver Mud Park Steering Committee.   “We knew we were generously coated with milk and corn meal then  deep-fried to a deliciously crispy golden brown hue after that.  All was  lost.  But we will all be Fresno State fans for a couple of Saturdays  in 2011 and 2012, I can tell you that.”

“With our plans in  shambles and our vision forever unrealized, we came to the conclusion  that the only thing left to do, the only thing that would make us forget  this doomed experience, the only thing that would reaffirm all that we  hold dear, would be to go forward with…


Saturday, July 24th, 2010 First Filet Hits Oil at  1:12 PM MDT The Denver Catfish Festival Grounds.

Sincerely, Joe T., Chmn. “Ask Me About the Eighth  Annual Denver Catfish Festival”




Scandal Implicates Local Organizer

DENVER (AP) In a gaffe reminiscent of the countless political and cultural failings of those in power throughout history, a local organizer has fallen prey to his own off-the-cuff interview comments and now finds himself having to backpedal against the tableau of open protests around the Pacific Northwest as well as Nova Scotia. The controversy stems from the following feature in the October 2008 Cornmeal Aficionado magazine, in which the current chairman of the Denver Catfish Festival allegedly made the following comments to reporter Summer Frye: ‘Salmon patee, smoked salmon, they will go,’ he said. ‘They will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than salmon now.” The remarks ignited a firestorm of backlash, especially in the American Northwest, where Denver Catfish Festival paraphernalia, printed emails, and uncooked, unbreaded catfish filets were burned in public displays of protest. In a hastily-organized press conference last week at Denver Catfish Festival Headquarters, the following exchange took place between the chairman and a reporter: Chairman: “I suppose if I had said halibut or tuna was more popular than salmon, I would have gotten away with it, but I just happened to be talking to a friend and I used the words “Denver Catfish Festival” as a remote thing, not as what I think – as a Catfish Enthusiast, I mean…I just said The Denver Catfish Festival is having more influence on kids and things than anything else, including salmon. But I said it in that way which is the wrong way.” Reporter: “Some teenagers have repeated your statements – “I like the Denver Catfish Festival more than I like Sesame Salmon with Wasabi Sauce.” What do you think about that?” Chairman: ” I’m not saying that the Denver Catfish Festival is better or greater, or comparing this amazing festival with salmon as a fish or as a thing or whatever it is. I just said what I said and it was wrong. Or it was taken wrong. And now it’s all this.” Reporter: “But are you prepared to apologize?” Chairman: “I wasn’t saying whatever they’re saying I was saying. I’m sorry I said it really. I never meant it to be a lousy anti-salmon thing. I apologize if that will make you happy. I still don’t know quite what I’ve done. I’ve tried to tell you what I did do but if you want me to apologize, if that will make you happy, then OK, I’m sorry. I stand by the fact that given the current economic climate and marketing and distribution initiatives, CATFISH IS MORE POPULAR THAN SALMON.” But even as the controversy rages, planning is under way for…

The Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival July 18, 2009

******To be held at the NEW Denver Catfish Festival Grounds!*********

Important updates to follow!

Sincerely, Joe T., Chmn.



Senate Hearings Begin in Public Corruption Investigation


WASHINGTON (AP) Wednesday marked the first day of hearings to examine corruption charges against the Chairman, operators, sponsorship, and participants of a Denver, CO concern specializing in the promotion and execution of a mid-summer festival.

Col. (ret.) Sanders (R-KY), Chairman of the Senate Fried Services Committee, was quoted as saying, “these purveyors of mischief will be brought to justice. It is a supreme waste of the taxpayer’s money to fly tender, delicious farm-raised Louisiana Catfish all the way to Denver, Colorado for a “festival” when there is plenty of delicious chicken to be had in every supermarket and on every low-income corner. This mouth-watering extravagance will not be tolerated.”

First to testify was Joe T., Chairman of the Denver Catfish Festival. He read a prepared statement prior to questioning:

“Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts. It is with a deep sense of personal indignation that I appear before the Senate to defend the Denver Catfish Festival over this non-issue. It is apparent to me that Chmn. Sanders has his hands deep in the pockets of special interests and has chosen our lively and independent Festival as a target for his diatribes due to his lap dog status within Big Chicken’s lobby. We at the Denver Catfish Festival will not stand for it, and as a non-violent protest, I shall answer all inquiries from this committee only in the form of Haiku.”

This exhange followed:

Chmn. Col. Sanders: You will answer questions in prose or statement form! This committee will not tolerate minimalist Japanese verse!


Mud Cat, Deep Dwellers, Are not as fat as y’all are, In expensive suits.

Chmn. Col Sanders: You’re in contempt!


Contempt is Fasting When gobs of Catfish filets Need to be fried up.

Joe T. was led away and placed in a dungeon under the Capitol building, where he remains. The Denver Catfish Festival archives, papers, budget receipts, and festival grounds have been seized and impounded. Those close to the festival, speaking under condition of anonymity, are unsure of its immediate future.

In other words, our house is going on the market (along with the festival grounds–that makes it worth more money, on the plus side) and the Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival status is uncertain.

We at Festival Headquarters will alert you when more information becomes available.


Joe T. Chairman

“Ask Me about the Chances, or lack thereof, That We’re Going to Have a Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival”


Clues to Past Found in New Discovery

Staff Writer

Forbing, LA (AP) At an archeological dig in Northwest Louisiana, an exciting discovery has been unearthed at a dig site near a dried riverbed. A small section of parchment, no more than two inches wide, was found near fossilized Spanish Moss. According to Acadian Archaeologist Fritz Poisson-Chat, this is the first discovery of its kind in the world, and has instantly created a buzz in academic circles. It contains the scrawlings of a communication; a letter of sorts. Poisson-Chat and his colleagues hope that this artifact will shed light on the habits and rituals of a once-dominant culture.

The translated text is as follows:

“Dearest Katvissa, Today I begin my journey northwest, to unknown wilds beyond this abundant land we know. Tribulations lie ahead which shall test me to the core of my being, but in my heart of hearts I know that this journey is my destiny. And no matter how dark the days become, or how lonely my heart feels, I will have you in my soul. My vision is haunted by your beauty; I am enraptured the oily brown of your skin, the delicate touch of your whisker, the flaky flesh beneath. With both sadness and excitement I confess that from this journey, I shall not return. I must meet my destiny with vigor and aplomb; I shall flop about in the richest milk and heartiest cornmeal; I will plunge headfirst into the Frydaddy of Fate before seasoning myself with cocktail sauce and becoming no less than A God Among Our Kind. Valhalla, I am coming.

But fret not, My Sweet, and remember only this:

When the sandy silt of the river’s water passes through your gills, I shall be there. Each time the driving current sweeps by your fair, bulging black eyes, I will be of that current. In summer, as you writhe and flop about in the caking mud, it will be me caking upon you. When your eggs require fertilization, I shall be the heart of the random but lucky catfish who ends up doing that fertilizing. And each time you gulp down a slow Junebug, I’ll be the crunch in its delicious flavor.

Forever Yours,




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