HISTORY

Back in simpler times, when we were too lazy to create a blog or a website, all communications were handled through “email.”  What follows is the historical email record of The Denver Catfish Festival.

(Note: I can’t find some of the oldest emails, so this starts with the 3rd Annual Denver Catfish Festival Email waaaay back when, and ends with the Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival emails.)

6/30/05:

Greetings again, Fellow Enthusiasts,

If I’m not mistaken (and I certainly could be and therefore wholeheartedly expect one of this audience to swiftly and sarcastically inform me if I am wrong,) he begins his promising life as tiny, spastic, tailed oddity. Or perhaps it could be argued that his life starts even before then, as a glimmer’d spark in a pair’s eyes, who make that epiphanic contact through the clouded brown darkness of a serene lake’s depths, or within the rapid twisting current of a churning, Gulfbound southern river, or in the tranquil, geometric clarity of a specialized farm somewhere south of Alexandria near Interstate 49.

One could even imagine far, far back to that primordial ooze of Earth’s biological infancy and wonder if those first molecules, those first strands of protien, those first manifestations of Earth’s possibility, were not attracted to one another because they had some forethought of a massive chain reaction that would then take place, and marvelled at the very iinkling of this hearty prehistoric beast that they were eventually bound to create.

And by our narrow-minded fundamentalist Christian brethren, so unaware of their own romanticism, an argument could be made that this lovely and misunderstood creature’s life began by the single dip of His Omnipotent Forefinger into those healing waters of Eden itself, immediatley sailing our little creature’s slick, brown body on an arched jump into the sweet air over Adam and Eve’s johnboat.

Wherever you’ve decided to place your faith, your rationale, or your intellect in explaining where he came from, I can tell you EXACTLY where he will be on Saturday, July 23rd, 2005.

This result of molecular attractants, this product of a deepwater romance, this smooth, scale-less nourisher of Adam and Eve, this stylish sporter of spiced cornmeal, this devout friend to the hush puppy and the french-fry and the mustard green and the sweet tea and the cold beer, this lazy lounger upon oily paper towels, this spiritual and nourishing honoree,

This Catfish,

will be once again be immortalized in deep fried revelry, at the 3rd Annual Denver Catfish Festival.

Saturday, July 23rd, 2005.
1:12 PM until probably well after the Last Catfish Filet is Fried.
1871 S. Monroe St.Denver, CO

Bring beer (or whatever it is you’re into, within the bounds of federal, state and local law of course,) a side dish, and/or kids if you like.

We’ll provide catfish, hush puppies, and a keg of Miller Lite, and catfish, hush puppies, and a keg of Miller Lite for the kids.

Thanks,
Joe and Vanessa

PS: In the interest of saving Little Dalton Hilliard from another four post-festival days of the scoots, pets will not be eligible for the Festival MVP award this year. thx

7/13/2005:

Greetings Enthusiasts,

We’re now only 9 days from the 3rd annual Denver Catfish Festival, and the electricity is in the air!

A few updates:

1. Due to lack of interest, the Catfish Festival Novel/Long Form Poetry Competition has been cancelled; however, the Catfish Haiku Competitionis still active, so get those submissions in before 1:30 on July 23rd!

2. After receiving some backlash over the keg of Miller Lite for the kids, that offer has been rescinded. We apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused.

**********Fun Facts from The Catfish Institute:

–U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish is a lean fish and an excellent source of protein. It is low in saturated (bad) fat and is a moderate source of polyunsaturated (good) fat and omega-3 fatty acids. When mixed with cornmeal, beer, and hush puppies, it also can cause mild flatulence.

–Catfish has little impact on the environment. Because the filets are consumed entirely, there is very little mess, save a bit of vegetableoil dumping, loss of forests from paper towel use, and extreme powerconsumption by the use of Frydaddies and/or propane-fired iron skillets.

–Ninety-four percent of all U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish is raised inAlabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, although the catfish raised in Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi is widely regarded as substantiallyless delicious than that raised in the Great State of Louisiana.

Until Saturday, July 23rd,

Joe “I don’t have a job but I can still fry catfish” T.

7/18/05:

Greetings Enthusiasts,

Catfish Festival Week is finally here! What a long, arduous journey it’s
been since last year’s successful run; we are looking forward to good
weather, a nice turnout, and plenty of hungry catfish eaters (with the
notable exception of Jessie P. She will be in attendance, but
claims to “not eat seafood.”)

A few tidbits to get everyone up to speed:

1. The Downtown Catfish Parade yesterday was a smashing success. Big kudos to all who participated. The performance by The Mudcat Marching Band from Bunkie, Louisiana was the highlight; also, a big thanks to the city cleanup crews for really stepping up after the traditional Catfish Toss. Those oily entrails are hard to scrub off of hot asphalt.

2. There is still time to submit your Catfish Haikus. We have had several
wonderful submissions, and the competition is heating up faster that
frydaddy oil on a July afternoon.

3. The Catfish Festival Week All-Star Jam Session will probably take place
on Thursday evening; please email Joe T. for more details. Local
alt-country/rockabilly/jamband/classical/techno/world music/A
Capella/jugband faves Chester Drawers will lead the session.

4. For Festival Volunteers, Staff Orientation will take place on Friday
evening at 5 PM at the festival grounds. Be sure to wear long pants, long
shirts, helmets, and don’t forget to bring a machete.

The Denver Catfish Festival
7/23/05
Gates 1:30, Catfish 2:30

1871 S Monroe St.

Any questions, comments, concerns, pointers, tidbits, wellwishes, or angry
rants, please send us an email, and we will respond with great alacrity.

Sincerely,

Your Denver Catfish Festival Coordinating Committee

7/19/05:

This Friday is Catfish Festival Eve; however, it is also the very day that the sponsor/producer/manager/organizer/drunk/clown of the festival will be celebrating the passing of another year. We will celebrate by enjoying sun and margaratas on the patio of Las Delicias on Kentucky and Colorado Blvd., which happens to be very close the grounds where the Castifish Festival will be held. Many of you may know the joint as the Mexican restaurant that is in the parking lot of Home Depot. The birthday-man and I will be knee-deep in margaratas and chips and salsa at 4 p.m. Hope to see you there!

~Vanessa

7/22/2005:

Dear Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

The catfish are being cleaned, the hushpuppies rolled, and it’s finally Catfish Festival Eve.

While we realize that sleep tonight will be as likely as that of a cherub on the night Santa comes calling, we encourage all of you to get as much shut-eye as possible (alcohol-induced if necessary,) and be sure to skip dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow morning so as to have plenty of room tender, delicious fried treats and ice cold beer.

A few updates:

1. Our catfish expeditionary group has returned from the Great State of Louisiana with a king’s ransom in catfish filets. Seventy-two hours of nonstop fishing on Caddo Lake has netted us a nice haul for this year’s festival. As I write this message, our festival staff is feverishly cleaning, filet’ing, and singing a happy Catfish song.

2. The “Keg of Miller Lite” offered on the original invitation has been replaced by “Keg of Whatever is Cheapest.” Please note your programs.

3. Due to the continuing record heat, a new addition to this year’s festival will be two fabulous 6×6 kiddie pools. If you have offspring, bring appropriate casualwear so that they may splash away this oppressive heat. Otherwise, please be sure to clean your feet before attending the festival so that you may stand awkwardly in cool, calf-deep water while enjoying the event.

4. We are truly surprised by the sheer volume of submissions for this year’s haiku contest. Again, there is still time for submissions!

Sincerely,
Your Denver Catfish Festival Committee

7/25/2005:
Dear Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

Well, the cleanup staff has just now finished the arduous task of returning the festival grounds to their natural state, and with the notable exception of the pungent aromas of both cheap, stale keg beer as well as cornmeal- and catfish-soaked vegetable oil wafting through the strangey humid air, all is back to normal.

We wish we could say the same for our gastrointestinal systems. (This is the price we pay for excellent and abundant fried catfish, though.)

A big congratulations to Cris H. for his winning Haiku submission: Catfish consumes my dreams
Soft flakes of flesh on my tongue
No bones in my poop

Chris walked away with a vintage “earl” bumpersticker and a bottle of Andre Peach Passion Champagne.

Last year, the festival chose local beagle Little Dalton Hilliard as the Most Valuable Participant. Pets were not eligible for the MVP award this year, and with all of the excellence on display at this year’s festival, we somewhat regret the fact that we were unable to come up with one clear winner. Due to this little snag, we would like to recognize the following individuals for their passionate work in helping to create a truly special festival environment. (Please note that this is not a full list, but just a few highlights:)

1. Liz P. and C.R. G., for bringing the Festival Chairman a bottle of Jack Daniels for his birthday, as well as for showing up with cigarettes when everyone had run out.

2.  Derek and Roxanne, for bringing the Festival Chairman an excellent pitcher of margaritas just when he needed it most.

3. Ally J., for riding a tricycle naked.

4. Owen J., for spending most of the festival naked.

5. Baxter B., for being confident enough in his own masculinity to not mind having to wear a Little Mermaid swim diaper.

6. Gigi L., who passed out twice before sunset only to roar back to life in the later hours of the festival.

7. The Mac family, for attending the festival one day after having to evacuate their house due to an approaching wildfire (fire’s out, house is fine.)

8. Vanessa, for amazingly stacking chairs and cleaning up well after dark.

9. Carmen L., for bringing some type of noodle-based Phillipino sidedish that everybody really liked.

10. Billy V., who was too hung over to even speak, yet stayed at the festival for a solid three hours before going home to his couch.

11. Keith B., for hanging out with the Festival Chairman until the wee hours of the morning.

12. Judy B., who was not in attendance but did bring a beautiful baby daughter into the world last Wednesday.

And Finally, to all of you who came, enjoyed, and made the 3rd Annual Denver Catfish Festival a major success, we truly appreciate it.

Until Next Year,
Your Denver Catfish Festival Staff

PS: The festival grounds will next be used to host the LSU-Arizona State game party…It’s closer than you think…

1/03/06:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

The holidays have ended, and we at Festival Headquarters hope that they were memorable and fabulous for all.

With another New Year beginning, thoughts naturally begin to turn to the Fourth Annual International Denver Catfish Festival and Exposition. (It’s international this year because we might make eggrolls.)

The date has not been set as of yet, but rest assured, the Biggest Event of the Year will be held sometime in Mid-July. With that in mind, it is never too early to starting looking at hotel and flight reservations. We are expecting reduced rates from some of our corporate partners, and will inform you of these offers as they become available.

And just think–the hearty legions of catfish that will be upon our platters in a few short months are currently bottom-dwelling and growing deliciously thick with the nourishment found in the lakes and rivers and bayous all across North Louisiana.

With Love and Hushpuppies,
Joe T.

5/17/06:

Mother Earth tilts upon her axis in a cosmic waltz she’s completed a million times before. The Sun’s liberating warmth again bathes North America in its grace. Cold and stark silence turns to reverie, and we awaken from Winter’s slumber.

The world we remember from so many months ago, the world of joy and celebration that ended somewhere right around the LSU-Auburn game, returns to embrace us, its bright-eyed children, once again.

And while we busy ourselves with reintroductions to this season of life, another annual miracle is taking place:

They are from places like Tchefuncte. Atchafalaya. Catahoula. Tickfaw. Bistineau. Wallace. Cypress. Toledo Bend. Calcasieu.

They come with wide eyes, blazing like burning canefields; eyes which hold dreams and aspirations with more depth than the bottomless black waters of the prehistoric, still body of water named for the Caddos.

Ambition pulses in their hearts. Determination illuminates their tiny, captivating faces. Whiskers flap playfully upon their silken smooth cheeks. Their bodies, sleek and muscular, rapidly develop in a singular affirmation of wonder and grace.

And since those darkest days of winter, they’ve heard a distant siren’s call.

It began as only a whisper, a hint in a dream, a confusing spiritual suggestion. But in those dreams they saw the Rocky Mountains, grand and imposing. And as the months pass, the visions became more lucid. Their souls witnessed objects and surroundings which at first made no sense:

A back yard. Coolers of cold beer. Lawn chairs. A swing set. Laughing children. Several particularly drunken guests opining upon the merits of college football, music, seafood, and/or child-rearing techniques.

Then, as clear as a cricket on a cane pole, they witness the Ultimate Vision:

A Gargantuan Pot of Superheated Vegetable Oil.

And at that very moment of crystallized realization, they are attuned to their heavenly destinies. They understand why the Earth has warmed them to life, and why the oil will warm them quite a bit more to flaky, tender delicacy.

They are the guests of honor at the Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festival.

July 15, 2006
1871 South Monroe St.
1:12 PM Mountain Time

6/2/06:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

Can you believe it?

Summer is upon us like a pack of dogs on a three-legged cat, and The Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festival is nigh on six short weeks away. Book your reservations now; you won’t want to miss all that DenCatFest’06 has to offer this year!

This year’s Artistic Theme is “A Salute to Broadway,” featuring:

A performance of a medley of ABBA hits by the original Broadway cast of “Mamma Mia!”

A monologue from “Death of a Salesman” from the incomparable Dustin Hoffman!

A tap routine from “Guys And Dolls” by 1977 Tony nominee and “Benson” Star Robert Guillaume!

(Note: In the event that any of the scheduled acts should cancel for any reason, their performances will be replaced with adult contemporary music from small outdoor speakers intertwined with the sweet, sweet sound of crackling cornmeal.)

HAIKU COMPETITION INFO:

Catfish-themed Haiku submissions are now being accepted. Rare and wonderful prizes have been collected from the corners of the globe, and we are now ready to begin the judging process.

There will be three winners and an honorable mention.

First Place: “The Filet du Catfish” Prize:prize to be announced.

Second Place: “The Fin du Catfish” Prize:prize to be announced.

Third Place: “The Muddy Bronze:”prize to be announced.

Honorable Mention: “The Lil’ Hushpup Award:” Prize: One Can of Armour Vienna Sausages

Please email your Haiku submissions to the judges at this address as soon as possible. There is no limit to the number of submissions one can make. Haikus with incorrectly-spelled words or incorrect form (syllable count, people! Syllable count!) will be ejected from consideration, and will prompt a belittling email response from the judges. Prizes are non-returnable and must leave the festival with the winners.

More updates to come–start starving yourselves now! These catfish won’t eat themselves!

From the Mud,

Joe T.
Festival Chairman
“Ask Me About The Denver Catfish Festival”

6/13/06:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

We at Festival Headquarters hope you all are enjoying the long, hot summer we’re experiencing. Thank goodness that our Catfish Holding Pens are kept at a muddy 87.9 degrees with fresh black water pumped directly from the Great State of Louisiana, via the famed Transamerican Swampwater Pipeline.

The catfish themselves grow more excited by the day. Their little whiskers perk up at the very mention of vegetable oil.

But due to the unfortunate fact that much of the catfish exercise equipment was destroyed by an outlaw band of maurauding and jealous mountain trout, not all of our little bottom-dwellers are yet up to snuff, physically speaking. They continue to pump iron, get forty minutes of cardio per day, and work their little Pilates balls. They’re still scarfing down their abundant rations of cornbread and crouter peas.

But even with such wonderful progress, we’ve come to the conclusion that a difficult decision must be made regarding the date of the Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festival. We believe that in order for you, The Festivalgoers, to savor the most delicate and most delicious catfish possible, the little guys must each have equal time in the gym. And as a result, the festival date must be pushed back.

The Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festival will now be held on Saturday, July 29th, 2006. For those of you with hotel and flight arrangements, we sincerely apologize and will work with your travel agents to reschedule your itineraries. We understand the emotional toll that this decision will take on most of you. Counselors are standing by if you feel that you need a shoulder to cry on, a hug, or just somebody to get weird with.

Better yet, express your anger, your desolation, your angst, your excitement, and your raw emotion through Haiku. The Submission period is now open.

But please, don’t take it out on the pitiful mountain trout. Hate breeds hate, people. Forgive the mountain trout, for they know not what they do. He who is without sin my cast the first trout. Do unto trout as you would have them…Well, you get the point.

With Great Apology,
Joe T.
Festival Chairman
“Ask Me About the Postponed Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

7/12/2006:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

Shhh…Quiet! Hush, Puppy! Listen closely.

Can you hear that?

It’s the pat-pat-patter of little catfish fins; the rythmic filtration of little catfish gills; the chortled turbulence of the mighty catfish exploding with motion through muddied waters en route to the Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festival!

It’s time for your Denver Catfish Festival Quiz:

Do you remember where you were on October 12th, 1996 when Ellie Peregrin caught that 11 lb 1 oz. Gafftop Catfish in Old Man Mississippi’s Southwest Pass?

Were you spending a romantic day with a loved one in February 2006 when John Sherman wooed The Valentine’s Day BlueCat, coming in at 63 lbs?

Back on April 16, 1998, were you at home with the family, reading the Good Book, when Ricky Gauthier hauled in that 50 lb. Flathead Catfish on Cane River near Natchitoches ?

Is your life as fulfilled as one Pat Meredith, whose July 24, 1999 Blue Catfish decked at 73 lbs 0 oz. at Lock & Dam #5 in Bossier Parish?

If the answer to any of these questions is a dense, stupified “I dunno,” then get yo’self to the Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festival.

July 29th, 2006
Doors 12:30/Filet-hits-oil at 1:12 PM MT
Rain or Shine
Denver Catfish Festivalgrounds,
1871 South Monroe St.
Denver, CO
Regards,
Joe T.
Festival Chairman
“Ask Me About the Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

PS: Get those Catfish Haiku submissions in ASAFP!! Judges are judging! Amazing prizes await the winners…

7/25/06:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

Well, it’s finally here! Catfish Festival Week is upon us!

The Annual Catfish Festival Retreat to Winter Park this past weekend was an absolute success. The Festival Elders were productive, proactive, and excelled at outside-the-box thinking during their weekend in the mountains. While the meetings were at times difficult, going long into Friday night, and on into Saturday morning, and further throughout the day and into Saturday night, and then Sunday morning after that, many issues surrounding catfish rights, catfish preservation, and catfish frying were discussed and agreed upon.

But of course it wasn’t all work. A band of minstrels from Georgia (of all places) provided Saturday Afternoon entertainment for the group, and all agreed that their particular brand of catfish-flavored musical stylings were just the respite needed between the bouts of strenuous and important discussions.

Monday’s Catfish Festival MVP Luncheon featured a keynote address from Little Dalton Hilliard (MVP ’04). The focus of his speech revolved around the ever-sensitive gastrointestinal health of Beagles. Thanks, Little Two-One, for a great afternoon. And let’s all hope that the catfish scoots don’t attack you as they have after every other Denver Catfish Festival.

(Remember, people–catfish scoots are for humans, not Beagles.)

******** Catfish Festival Fun Facts:

Did you know that if you were to lay every catfish filet eaten at the past four Catfish Festivals end-to-end, they would stretch the exact same distance as JaMarcus Russell’s first quarter touchdown pass to Bennie Brazell in the 2005 Florida-LSU Game?

Did you further know that it would take Tiger tailback Justin Vincent 4.4 seconds to run that same distance?

Did you also know that if you stood each catfish filet eaten at the past four Catfish Festivals end-to-end, they’d reach to the 13th floor of the Louisiana State Capitol Building?

Or that it would take 20 Shaquille O’Neals, standing on each others’ shoulders, to touch the point of the top filet?

****** Please send your Catfish Festival Haiku submissions in at once. The judges pine for your poetry.

The Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festival
July 29th, 2006
Doors 12:30/Filets-hit-oil at 1:12 PM MT
Rain or Shine
Denver Catfish Festivalgrounds,
1871 South Monroe St.Denver, CO

Regards,
Joe T.
Festival Chairman
“Ask Me About the Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

7/27/06:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

The deed is done.

Last night at 12:01 AM Mountain Time, the festival prepcooks rounded up and humanely martyred twenty pounds of beautiful catfish.

The culmination of a six month journey, each catfish lay in its little bed with friends and family around them before the injections were given. They enjoyed a last repast of cornbread, snap beans, and chicken necks before going to That Big Spillway in the Sky. (On a sidenote, the injections were one part humane catfish euthanizer, one part liquid cayenne pepper, one part garlic–makes the meat more tender.)

*********** A few notes about this weekend’s Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festival:

Haiku Submissions are still being accepted! Need I remind you that this makes up 80% of your final grade? I’d hate to see some of you have to stay home while your classmates walk in graduation.

1. We will be serving catfish and hushpuppies. If you have any fish that you feel is a positive contribution and that you would like breaded and fried, you are allowed to bring it, per Catfish Festival tradition. (Mad props here to Danny F. for 2004’s redfish, and Marcus T. for that sickdiculously tasty Alaskan Halibut, whatever year that was.)

2. If you want a side, bring a side! Various and sundry noodle, bean, lettuce, etc. salads and the like have been served over the years to great acclaim. Bring whatever you like! But again, we’re only frying Catfish, possibly Guest Fish, and hushpuppies.

3. By popular demand, the kiddie pools will again be filled and ready for the Lil’ Festivalgoers. If you have offspring, bring appropriate casualwear so that they may splash away the oppressive heat. Otherwise, please be sure to clean your feet and toenails (you know who you are) before attending the festival so that you may stand awkwardly in cool, calf-deep water while enjoying the event.

4. The Festival Steering Committee decided against getting a keg this year. We can’t remember what kind we got last year, but we know it was cheap, nasty, and only half-finished (probably as a result of being cheap and nasty) at festival’s end. There will be a few cases of Miller Lite on hand (official beer sponsor of the 4th Annual Denver Catfish Festival) but most people seem to think it’s old man beer, fratboy beer, mule pee, dog pee, hog pee, pee pee, pee swill, swill water, pee water, and/or not-to-their-particular-taste, so you might want to bring your own choice of beverage.

We’re 49 Hours 23 minutes away, Enthusiasts!

Happy Catfish Festival Eve Eve!

Sincerely,
Joe T.
Festival Chairman
“Ask Me About The Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

7/31/2006:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

Wow.

The Catfish Festival Facilities Sanitation Crew has completed the long, hot, miserable, disgusting, thankless, awful, dizzying, and sweaty process of returning the festival grounds to their pristine and bucolic pre-festival condition, and we can now close the books on the Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festival.

The Festival Archivist is a bit cloudy-headed from the weekend, but a few things do stand out:

The first filet hit oil at 1:12 PM MT, and the last batch came out at midnight. Just a few filets short of twenty pounds of delicious farm-raised Louisiana catfish, as well as an immeasurable number of hush puppies, were consumed by the raucous and enthusiastic crowd.

MVP’s of this year’s Denver Catfish Festival:

–Vanessa T., Pregnant, sober, wonderful, and as always, an amazing ability to manage a crowd of both kids and adults while simultaneously snapping 7,000 pictures. Best Person Ever.

–The facilities setup staff (Vanessa, Lindsey, Billy, and Dalton) who worked long into Friday night preparing the festival grounds. Thanks–it couldn’t have happened without you.

–Chester Drawers, for playing a free rock show for the crew after set-up on Friday night.

–Max J., for providing a fabulous Catfish Festival Banner.

–Harris and Mae G., for their enthusiastic contribution of stylish and functional Catfish Shirts.

–Mackenzie B., for creating a delicious and beautiful Catfish Festival cake, and for being patient and caring with the little kids (and patient and caring with the adults,) as the festival went on through the evening.

–Derek and Roxanne, for again providing the Festival Chairman with a Margarita when it was most needed, as well as coming through with a misting device to keep everybody cool on a triple-digit afternoon.

–Cris H., for attending the Catfish Festival with his family, then going home and coming back for Catfish Festival After Dark. That’s dedication, folks.

–Billy V., for going to get cigarettes for the Festival Chairman at some late hour.

–Carmen L., for the following Grand Prize-Winning Haikus:

It is not a cat
It’s actually a fish
Some Asians eat dogs.

I would if I could
Have sex with many catfish
That’s why I smell so

What’s that fishy smell?
The Catfish Fry Festival!
Yes, it’s not my crotch!

The Blonde Kid Running Around Naked Award, which apparently has become a tradition, goes to Baxter B. Way to keep the heritage alive, young buck.

I’m sure that there are other deserving folks who I haven’t mentioned here, but THANKS EVERYBODY for attending, eating, drinking, laughing, dancing, and making this the best Denver Catfish Festival we’ve ever had.

The Festival staff, from the Chairman all the way down to the lowest sanitation crew member, is truly astounded at the participation and enthusiasm.

We’ll see you all at the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival!

In the Mud,
Joe T.
Festival Chairman
“Ask Me About the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

8/8/06

Note: This is an email sent to the Chairman of Alaska’s Fur Rondy Festival, my sister, Susan. Literally, the Fur Rondy is the Denver Catfish Festival’s “Sister Festival.”

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Festival Enthusiast, Sister Festival Coordinator, and Sister of the Chairman,

Through Mom, we at the Denver Catfish Festival have been informed of problems with our Sister Festival, the Fur Rendezvous, and have embarked on a Google News search which has illuminated the many issues surrounding your esteemed festival’s very existence.

We at The Denver Catfish Festival stand in solidarity with Fur Rondy and offer all of the moral support we can muster. Moral support is about all we can afford–our festival budget was around a hundred bucks this year, and I spent $180. (I just had to have bumper stickers. I couldn’t pass them up.)

And with another Lil’ Festivalgoer on the way, that eighty bucks might just come back to bite me on the ass. I realize that this is small potatoes next to your budget, but hey, we’re just a young festival starting out. In all seriousness, hang in there…

Tell everybody hello and give hugs, we hope to see y’all soon!

Love,
Joe T.
Festival Chairman
“Ask Me About The Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

3/16/07:

Hi,

I usually don’t send articles like this out, but this one really is interesting.

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,
Festy ***********************************************************
It appears in deepest winter. It is as passing and as surreptitious as a tap on the shoulder, a whisper of a hint of an inkling of an idea passed through an afternoon breeze.
One can sense it through the mountains of snow, the steaming breath of crisp cold air on a wintry day; the unconscious edge of a half-waking dream. It is the distant scent of oil, of cornmeal, of sweat and beer and ketchup.

The Muslims have Mecca. LSU has Saturday Night in Tiger Stadium. Panic has Red Rocks.

You have The Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival.

July 2007
Denver, Colorado

More updates to follow.

4/24/2007:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

First, a bit of necessary and serious business:

A devious new scam has surfaced both on the Internet and through lakes, rivers, and streams around the world which threatens the very fabric of our robust yet ultimately fragile society. We must all be vigilant in repelling this menace.

The scam starts off innocently enough, and with promise of great rewards:

“Greetings, Dearest Friend and Catfish Connoisseur, My name is Mpono PescaGato, and I represent the Nigerian National Wildlife and Fisheries Consulate, London. Due to complications arising from political unrest in our nation, I must disburse two-thousand lbs. of our native catfish to the US under the Authority of The Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival.

You shall be rewarded monetarily to the sum of $10,000,000.00US. We only require your bank account name and number for and for you to deposit two-thousand lbs of Native Louisiana Catfish into our holding ponds in London, and you shall receive our catfish, our payment, and our sincerest gratitude in return.

With Warmest Regards,
Mpono PescaGato
Nigerian Wildlife and Fisheries Consulate
London UK”

DO NOT BE FOOLED by this Nigerian “CatPhishing” Scam.

The Denver Catfish Festival in no way endorses nor has any connection to Mr. Mpono PescaGato, if that in fact is his real name, nor do we want or need his “Nigerian” catfish. Besides, it would take a lot more than ten million bucks for us to part with our most precious resource, Native Louisiana Catfish. Some people just don’t get it: Money isn’t everything–Catfish is.

Should you receive this email or one like it, please report it to us immediately.

*********************

The Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival is Coming Soon! We’re tentatively set for Saturday, July 21, 2007 at 12:33 PM MT. And it’s never too early to get to work on those Catfish-related Haikus! Our agents are scouring the four corners of the earth to find the most dazzling prizes yet, so submit your best! Honorary judges this year will be 2005 Haiku Champion Cris H., 2006 Champion Carmen L., and Lemmy from Motorhead.

Regards,
Joe T.
Chmn., Denver Catfish Festival Steering Committee
“Ask Me about the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

5/23/2007:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

A bit of important business: It has come to the attention of the Steering Committee of the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival that our scheduled Festival Date, July 21st, coincides with that evening’s Pepsi Center performance by American Idol Alumnus Kelly Clarkson.

Please be advised that any attempt at using the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival as a “tailgate,” “pre-party,” or otherwise as a springboard of any sort to the aforementioned performance by Ms. Clarkson will not be tolerated.

Festivalgoers and their cars will be searched extensively prior to admission. If any evidence of Kelly Clarkson concert tickets, passes, CD’s, t-shirts, beer coozies, bumperstickers, buttons, pins, hats, underwear, socks, deodorant, shoelaces, oven mitts, flags, paperclips, banners, or other memorabilia of any kind is discovered, admission will be denied.

We apologize for any incovenience that this may cause, and hope that together, we can work through this unfortunate coincidence.

Sincerely,
Joe T.,
Festival Chairman
“Ask Me About the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

PS: Only 58 Days until the Festival!! Get those Catfish-inspired Haikus written and submitted!! (No Kelly Clarkson-inspired Haikus will be accepted.)

5/29/2007:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

When well-wishers approach me on the street, at the supermarket, in restaurants, and at sporting and cultural events, they often ask, “Why, Festival Chairman Joe, does the Denver Catfish Festival only celebrate with the finest Louisiana farm-raised catfish?”

It’s a fair question. And while my answer, “because it’s the finest Louisiana farm-raised catfish, that’s why” might seem a bit terse or general, I found the following article while perusing the national publications for breaking news involving our favorite freshwater forager. It describes the death sentence recently handed down to China’s former head of food and drugs:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18911849/

The article contains the following passage:

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also warned consumers not to buy or eat imported fish from China… The warning came days after three southern U.S. states banned imports of catfish from China because they contained traces of antibiotics the FDA says have never been approved for use in aquaculture.”

The Denver Catfish Festival takes both the health and well-being of its patrons and the domestic economic benefits of the event very seriously. Communist, unapproved antibiotic-infested catfish will never be a part of our celebration.

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

PS: I tap my foot and slap my hand and say “Haiku, Haiku, Haiku!” tersely. Get those submissions in! For those who have asked, your Haiku must be catfish-inspired and consist of three lines of five, seven, and five syllables.

Examples:

Communist Catfish,
Not approved for our CatFest;
It stays in Beijing.

Chinese are welcome
To bask in late July sun;
Leave catfish at home.

Haikus are easy,
Much like eating fried catfish,
Except write, not chew.

6/04/07:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

From time to time we receive worthwhile questions from Festival patrons, and we like to pass along the answers to everyone. Such is the case below: ***********

“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? (unsigned)”

Dear 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 effect 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!

Sincerely,
Joe T., Chmn.
“Ask Me About The Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

The Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival
Saturday, July 21, 2007

6/15/07:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

We at Festival Headquarters would like to take this opportunity to dispel a few rumors that have been floating around concerning the Festival’s banning of all Kelly Clarkson-related memorabilia and use of the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival as a jumping-off point for later attendance at her concert.

It has come to our attention that purely by coincidence, Kelly Clarkson has cancelled her summer tour and therefore will not be performing at the Pepsi Center on July 21st, 2007.

First off, The Denver Catfish Festival Committee vehemently denies any involvement in Ms. Clarkson’s decision to cancel her tour. It’s not in our interests to tell the competition that they’ll “sleep with the catfishes” if they interfere with our Festival. Moreover, we applaud Ms. Clarkson’s decision not to tangle with an established tradition such as the Denver Catfish Festival.

In that spirit, a few items:

1. A moment of silence, followed by a mass Kazoo rendition of “Since You Been Gone” will be held during the festival as a display of respect.

2. Kelly Clarkson memorabilia will be allowed at the festival, although her brand of slick, contemporary pop music is still off-limits.

3. Kelly Clarkson has been offered an invitation to attend our Festival under the condition that any song she spontaneously breaks into must deal directly with the following: Catfish, catfishing, catfish cooking, catfish bait, catfish culture, catfish po-boys, catfish in literature, catfish farming, catfish theory, catfish in captivity, catfish as a political instrument, or catfish festivals.

(She can also do Widespread Panic covers, but she better do them perfectly, by God, or else.)

Thank you, Festival Elder Cristian H., for bringing this matter to our attention.

We’ll see you on July 21st, 2007! Write a HAIKU, folks! (However, if you were planning on leaving the Festival to the George Winston show at the Paramount, you’re no longer invited.)

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

7/03/07:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

From Festival Elder and 2006 Haiku Contest Runner-Up David L. we recently received the following justification for our Haiku contest, a connection between the Wiley Catfish and the Land of the Rising Sun itself:

“A giant catfish lived in mud beneath the earth. The catfish liked to play pranks and could only be restrained by Kashima, a god who protected the Japanese people from earthquakes. So long as Kashima kept a mighty rock with magical powers over the catfish, the earth was still. But when herelaxed his guard, the catfish thrashed about, causing earthquakes.”

While we are most grateful to count a research-minded lawyer like David among our Festival Elders, we at Headquarters are afraid that this folk tale is a bit off-the-mark.

We offer the following revelation along with related incidents which prove our point:

It is true that Kashima restrains the Giant Catfish. But why does the Giant Catfish thrash about?

–Because a few disrespectful Japanese people are trying to eat his delicious brethren raw, with Wasabi, rice, soy sauce, and saki. (This is a great way to prepare Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and softshell crab, but stay away from the Catfish, for the sake of lives and property.)

Why did the bigass catfish wiggle a bit under San Francisco in 1906?

–Because a high-minded San Franciscan attempted Steamed Catfish with Cabernet Sauvignon Zest and Dill Chutney.

And why did Catfish Grande “shake off the fleas” under Northridge, Los Angeles in January ’94?

–Because Wolfgang Puck attempted an exquisite Pan-Seared Catfish with White Bean Ragout, Braised Escarole and Tomato Vinaigrette in his L.A. Bistro on the very same evening.

Furthermore, it is widely believed that the lack of seismic activity for over 100 years in the New Madrid Fault line (running through the Mississippi Valley) is due to the introduction of the combo of propane, cornmeal, and vegetable oil to that region in approx. 1895. Coincidence? We think not.

The Giant Catfish Who Lives in the Mud Beneath the Earth knows that a deep-fryer and a catfish filet go together like, well, a deep-fryer and lots of other things. Fancy it up, and you risk pissing off a big fish who makes earthquakes.

**************

We’re only 17 days away, folks! Get those Catfish-inspired Haikus in immediately! Earthquake Catfish-inspired Haikus are also welcome! Amazing Prizes Await! We mean it this year!

The Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Doors 12:33 PM MT
Filets-hit-oil 1:12 PM MT

More updates to come!

Sincerely,
Joe T., Chmn.
“Ask Me about the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

7/06/07:

catfishgolf

from: “joseph T.” > >

Festival Elder Cris,
> > I must ask an important favor.
> > I need you and yours to go play golf somewhere between now and July 21st and call it a Catfish Festival Golf Tourney so that I can write an update about it.
> > Actually, you can just go hit balls at a range and tell me it was a Catfish Festival Golf Tourney. (The rules offer much latitude in this area.)
> > Sincerely,> Joe T., Chmn> “Ask Me about the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

Chairman,

Per your request, The First Annual Denver Catfish Festival Golf Tournament was held this morning at Wellshire Golf Course. I shot an 84. It was hot. Picture attached.

Harden

7/12/07:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

The Louisiana record books are filled with the proud stories of men and women pushed to their limits in pursuit of a prized catfish. These annals into the world of prize-fishing note nearly every necessary detail: the size of the fish, the type of rod and reel and bait used, the body of water, and whether or not the feisty catfish in question was caught from the shore or from watercraft.

With these records, we can enter the time and place; we can swim about in the mind of the angler. However, One piece of crucial information is never revealed with these records unless a photo is present. And in these photos, from the weathered, dog-eared and cracked pictures to the latest digital shots, you can see this most important factor:

What was the fisherman-in-question wearing at the time of the Big Catch?

When Harold and Mike Clubb wrestled a 30 lb. Channel Cat from Lake Theriot (south of Houma, LA) in 1977, the father and son duo sported matching safari-inspired, polyester, multi-pocketed olive shirts and slacks. Each wore identical Catfish-embossed, mesh-back baseball caps in the same olive green.

In 1997, when Joe Wiggins boated the 105 lb. Louisiana-record Blue Cat from the Mississippi River (on the LOUISIANA side), he fought the Big Cat while sporting lycra-sansibelt navy culottes with a peach flamenco button-down top and rose-banana javelina boots and matching mini cowboy hat.

On the might Red River south of Shreveport in 1998, Harley Rakes was simply dashing in faux fur-lined camouflage spandex coveralls, white shrimp boots, and a vintage LSU football helmet.

What does this have to do with anything, you ask?

These fishermen had panache. They knew what to wear for a big event.

You, on the other hand, can’t decide what to wear to the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival. But Fret Not, Gentle Festivalgoer, we at Festival Headquarters have provided your solution: http://www.cafepress.com/denvercatfish ***********************************

More updates to follow.

We’re only seven days out!!!!!

The Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival is Saturday, July 21st. Do not be one of those people who comes to the festival tired and exhausted because you waited until the last possible moment to prepare your haiku–write it now, submit it, and be eligible for valuable prizes!!

Saturday, July 21st, 2007
Doors 12:32 PM MT
Filets-hit-oil 1:12 PM MT
1871 S Monroe St
Denver, CO
Sincerely, Joe T., Chmn.
“Ask Me about the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

7/16/07:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts, and Happy Catfish Festival Week!

We’ll have more later on the successful Denver Catfish Festival Men’s and Women’s Golf Classics that took place over the past two weekends.

In the meantime, this update contains important information which will ensure that you and yours have a lively, safe, happy, content, enthralling, and spiritually-awakening Denver Catfish Festival.

**We surely haven’t covered everything, so please email if you have further questions.**

Q: When? Where?
A: The Festival is this Saturday, July 21st. 1871 S Monroe St., Denver, CO. Doors are 12:31 PM MT, First Filet-hits-oil at 1:12 PM MT. “Catfish Festival After Dark” begins at sundown. Come whenever you like–people come and go throughout the day. But don’t expect the Chairman to even recognize who you are if you show up after 5:00 PM.

Q: What to drink?
A: We are not getting a keg this year, so bring your own hooch. And be a dear, would you, and pick up a bag of ice. We always need ice.

Followup Q: What beer goes well with Catfish?
A: All beer! If you decide to drink whiskey from the outset in 96 degree heat and pass out on the Festival Grounds by 4PM, you will be spat upon and derided by your fellow patrons.
***We’ll get juice boxes and little bottled waters for the little chilluns.***

Q: What to wear? A: We will have the traditional kiddie pools on the premises. Bring something for your offspring (if applicable) to get wet in, and something for you to wear that allows you to stand around awkwardly in calf-deep water.
**There will be a misting tent for the adults, and nothing looks better wet than: http://www.cafepress.com/Denvercatfish **

Q: Is this a pot luck?
A: We cook Catfish and Hush Puppies. Please feel free to bring a side or a dip or a horse d’ovary or whatever other culinary delights you’d like to showcase. While we find it difficult to comprehend that some dislike catfish, we respect the choice. Sorta.

Q: I’m a dirty smoker. Does the Denver Catfish Festival recognize my right to destroy myself?
A: Yes, of course! We welcome many types of self-abuse. The traditional smoking section will be set up near the fry area. Also, new this year, Ashtrays! Please use them, or be forced to come over Sunday and help the cleanup crew pick up the remnants of your disgusting habit.

Q: I want to give fried catfish to your dog. Is that cool?
A: Lamentably, no. The lawn still hasn’t recovered from when he ate a bunch of catfish at the Third Annual Denver Catfish Festival.

Q: I’m a guy. Where will I relieve myself?
A: NOT in the yard. We’ll have a Port-a-potty out back! It’s new this year! It’ll be just like Jazzfest! (Oh Lord. It’ll be just like Jazzfest.)

Q: I’m a girl. Wear do I powder my nose?
A: Girls get to use the bathroom in the house, unless things get out-of-hand, in which case you’ll have to go to a gas station.

Q: When’s the cutoff for submitting a Haiku?
A: We need your Haiku submissions by 3:00 PM on Festival Saturday. Haiku submissions are not mandatory, but why would you purposely deny yourself a chance at fabulous prizes?

Thanks, and have a great Catfish Festival Week!
Joe T., Chmn.
“Ask Me About the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival, or Just Read the Above FAQ’s”

7/19/07:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

Great news! The beer can huggies (coozies to you northern folk) arrived yesterday afternoon amid much fanfare.

The Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival Maintenance, Marketing, and Hospitality committees held a meeting en mass to test-drive the aforementioned huggies, and we’re happy (albeit a bit sleepy) to report that they work very, very well when an ice-cold Miller Lite is nestled within their spongey confines.

Over the course of the meeting, conversations drifted to Catfish Festivals Past, and something quite astonishing was discovered:

This is not the Fifth Annual Denver Catfish Festival. It’s actually the Fourth Annual Denver Catfish Festival. A crawfish boil (we think maybe the 2004 Crawfish Boil?) got mixed up in the Chairman’s memory somehow and well, shit, I dunno…

In any case, we’ve come to the conclusion that what they say about memory loss and alcohol must indeed be true. And the Marketing Director was quite relieved that our quality merchandise is embossed with nothing about “Fifth Annual.” The fabulous sign that Festival Elder Max J. made last year will not need to be changed to “Fifth” either, so that’s good.

We apologize for any heartache that this discovery may cause. We have counselors standing by if anybody needs to work through their feelings.

As a token of our remorse, the first 30 folks through the door will receive a complimentary “Denver Catfish Festival 2007” beer huggie.

Sincerely,
Joe T., Chmn.
“Ask Me About the Fifth–damnit, I Mean Fourth–Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

7/20/2007:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts, Happy Catfish Festival Eve!

We hope that your local pre-festival celebrations are lively and enjoyable. Drink enough to get a goodnight’s sleep, but not so much that you have a hard time tomorrow.

We at Festival Headquarters have realized that it’s truly a wonderfulthing that we are charged with the task of counting Catfish Festivals and are NOT involved with scheduling elections, planning Olympic Games, or keeping track of convicted felons’ time served.

I awoke from a deep slumber last night and turned to the peacefully-sleeping Marketing Committee Chairperson and exclaimed, “THIS IS THE FIFTH ANNUAL DENVER CATFISH FESTIVAL!”

We had one in ’03, ’04, ’05, ’06, and this apparently is ’07.

Let this be a lesson to you youngsters out there–do not imbibe a bit too heartily on the Miller Lite during beer huggie testing and then attempt to make important chronological decisions. These are words to live by.

While some might feel that the Marketing and Maintenance Chairpersons should receive censure of some sort for leading the Chairman down this delusional path, it’s just not our policy. I take full responsibility for the error.

We look forward to seeing you all at the Fifth (we’re sure this time)Annual Denver Catfish Festival. For those who can’t make it, go out and find some catfish and enjoy yourselves in absentia.

Joe T.

7/25/2007:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

After a couple of days of convalescence at a sanitarium up in the mountains, we at Festival Headquarters can safely announce that The Fifth Annual Denver Catfish is finally in the books.

We thank everybody who came out for catfish and sunshine on Saturday, and hope you had as much fund as we did.

A few items of business:

1. Anybody have pictures they want to share? We took some pretty good ones from “Catfish Festival After Dark,” and I’ll send them out as soon as I get a chance.

2. Festival memorabilia is still available at http://www.cafepress.com/Denvercatfish

3. I forgot to give out bumper stickers, so let me know if you want one.

It was a record-setting day in many respects:

Fastest: We fried twenty pounds of farm-raised Louisiana catfish and six big batches of hush puppies in four and a half hours short hours, blowing away the old record of seven hours set in 2005.

Hottest: The temperature outside on Saturday afternoon was an unofficial 137 Degrees Farenheit.

Wettest: For the first time in Festival History, we got a late-afternoon rainshower that cooled things off nicely.

Most Crowded: We had more people this year than ever. I’m not sure exactly how many folks attended, but it looks like we might need to rent or buy the houses next door as part of our expansion for the Sixth Annual Denver Catfish Festival.

Longest Distance Travelled: Dean N. came in all the way from Dallas, TX for the fest. Nearly as long a distance was covered by the folks from Smokey Hill, which is somewhere out past Aurora. Thanks for making the trip!

Most Whining after the Haiku Contest Results:

Controversy abounded after the Haiku contest, but sour grapes don’t really taste well with Catfish and Hush Puppies.

Congrats to Billy V. for this winning Haiku:

Catfish banana!
Orange you glad this haiku is
not crotch-related?

Festival MVP’s:

We have a tie for Festival MVP this year. Harris G. of Steamboat Springs, CO came to the chairman’s rescue three hours into frying and took over, allowing the chairman to rest a bit. Big thanks to Harris!

Equally as valuable a player was the Porta-Potty that we brought in this year (great idea Vanessa!) Which was a godsend for keeping people out of the house and keeping the crowd disbursed.
Congrats to Harris and the Porta-Potty!

Thanks to everybody who helped out, brought delicious food, and most especially thanks to those who helped clean up and tear everything down late-night so that I didn’t have to spend my birthday doing it on Sunday.

Thanks to Kim S. for sending local wine and smoked Catfish from Lake Erie! It was outstanding!

Thank You Thank You Thank You again to all who participated, both in Denver at around the North American Continent. It was great to have you and we’re looking forward to doing it again in 2008.

Sincerely,
Joe T., Chmn
“Don’t Ask Me About the Sixth Annual Denver Catfish Festival Until After the Sugar Bowl.”

5/21/08:

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!

Joe:

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

Chmn. Col Sanders: You’re in contempt!

Joe:

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.

Sincerely,
Joe T.
Chairman
“Ask Me about the Chances, or lack thereof, That We’re Going to Have a
Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

5/28/2008:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

Things are heating up quickly.

A Festivalgoer has brought to our attention the following website which brings to light the illegal and wasteful practice of interstate trafficking in gigantic catfish for sporting purposes:

http://catfishrescue.com/

We at the Denver Catfish Festival only import the finest farm-raised Louisiana Catfish. Our Catfish are therefore domesticated and not intended for sporting purposes (unless the sport happens to be a catfish eating contest); however, occaisonally a catfish on the farm does grow to gargantuan porportions.

Because such large catfish are known to be mealy and sour-tasting, they are free to pursue a life in professional sports as fulfillment of their own aspirations. Many a gigantic catfish has left the farm in his wake, knapsack in hand, searching for glory on the grand sporting stage.

We feel that it would be un-American to deprive these gigantic catfish their right to be paid as entertainers; we do not, however, condone their use as nourishment in festival settings. They just don’t taste as good as their diminutive brethren.

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

6/9/2008:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

Our fine, tender friends are currently en route to Colorado from a happy little farm smack-dab in the middle of the Great State of Louisiana. The Festival Grounds have been lovingly prepared. The old fryer has been dusted off and tested. The Four Corners of the, uh, city have been scoured for Haiku Competition prizes. The Cornmeal waits in baited anticipation for the opportunity to spread itself lovingly upon fresh, milk-soaked fillets.

Yes indeed, it must be Catfish Festival Week.

In a surprise move, this year’s Men’s Porta-Potty is being sponsored by one Billy V., esq. Thank you, Billy, for giving of yourself, and of your need for swift and comfortable gastrointestinal relief, for the good of so many. The Altruism of your bladder and/or colon knows no bounds. (Altruistic Colon? Cool song name?)

Haiku submissions have been coming in at a furious pace. The Judging Panel reports that this might be the largest and most competitive year ever for Catfish-related Haikus; furthermore, most (but certainly not all) have been decidedly family-friendly, bucking the recent trend of rather “blue” submissions. If you haven’t submitted yet, get on it!

We will have Catfish and Hush-puppies for all, and hot dogs and whatnot for the chillun’s. There have been reports that the Jazz Fest classic Crawfish Monica will be prepared by Richard, a member of the New Orleans contingency. If you haven’t had that stuff, then your palate will be aglow with cosmic radiance after the very first taste. (It’s good.)

If you want to bring a side or something, bring it!

Again we will have kid’s pools out, so let your kid get wet and let yourself stand awkwardly in calf-high water.

We will see you on Saturday. Weather is expected to be sunny and 86 degrees.

First Fillet-hits-oil at 1:12 PM Mountain Time. Catfish Festival After Dark begins when the sun retreats.

1871 S Monroe St.
Denver, CO 80210

Sincerely,

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

6/10/2008:

Greetings Once Again, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

Ahh, Catfish Festival Week. A lively festivalgoing couple has brought up another question which demands to be answered for the benefit of all:

“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,”

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. (Madonna is a catfish freak.)

–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 inedibly stale (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 5 gallon fryer.

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

–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 Lovely Champions of the Catfish Culinary Arts; 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?

CATFISH HUNTER.

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

The Sixth Annual Denver Catfish Festival
Saturday, June 14, 2008.
First Fillet-hits-oil at 1:12 PM (72 minutes past noon).

1871 S Monroe St.
Denver, CO

Sincerely,

Joe T., Chmn.
“Ask Me Anything You Can Think Of About The Sixth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

6/13/2008:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

It has been brought to the attention of The Denver Catfish Festival that the statue of Starkist Charlie, Spokesfish for Starkist Tuna, memorialized in Sculpture in Oregon, has been vandalized in an act of wonton recklessness by two youths:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25130298/from/ET/

We at The Denver Catfish Festival understand that allegiances to one type of fish over others can be zealously powerful; however, fascism in the name of Catfish will neither be condoned nor tolerated. While the Denver Catfish Festival is a public festival, these two young men will be barred from entry should they make bail and get to Denver by tomorrow.

We hope that this clears up any confusion, and look forward to a vandalism-free Denver Catfish Festival.

Many thanks to Susan, Chairperson of our Sister Festival, The Alaska Fur Rendezvous Festival (as well as Sister of the Chairman of the Denver Catfish Festival), for bringing this matter to our attention.

Sincerely,

Joe T., Chmn.
“Ask Me about the Sixth Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

6/16/2008:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

The Festival Grounds have been magically transformed back into a normal back yard. The smell of cornmeal, fish, beer, cigarettes, sweat, sunblock, and Port-O-Let vapors is slowly dissipating. It’s time to close the books on yet another wildly successful Denver Catfish Festival.

–First of all, thanks Vanessa, Lindsey, and Megan, and Barbara, the best staff a Festival Chairman could ever possibly want.

–Thanks to Billy for helping with setup on Friday and for the Billy V. Port-O-Let. Your sponsorship of the outhouse prevented us from having to have our sewer line snaked!

–We fried 30 pounds of catfish fillets and literally hundreds of hush puppies; the first fillet hit oil at 1:12 PM and we were finished cooking at around 5:00.

–The first guests arrived around 12:45 PM, and, to my surprise, the last krazy visitor crawled out of my Vanagon and wandered off at around 10:30 Sunday morning. People came and went throughout the day, but it was never as claustrophobically crowded as last year.

–The Festivalgoing Public drinks a LOT. There were enough cans and bottles to top off a landfill (or a recycling plant, I suppose). The cleanup crew also found an entire fifth of Jack Daniels, barely touched and nestled beneath one of the tables. (I only mention this because in retrospect, it appears that the 11 PM walk to the liquor store by Richard and me was, after all, unneccessary).

–The Catfish Festival Cleanup Crew dealt with opressive heat and vicious hangovers on Sunday morning and still did an excellent job. The place is spotless. Thanks, team!

–Certain Camel Light and Marlboro Ultralight smokers? You rock! Your refusal to use ashtrays, and therefore toss cigarette butts from one end of the festival grounds to the other, should be commended–You don’t play by the rules and neither does the Denver Catfish Festival. We respect your right to individualism, and the clean-up crew loves you for it!

–The #1 Winning Haiku was submitted by Gail. Her use of dark, vivid imagery, her nod to the Chairman’s Band, and her lack of reference to similarities between catfish and female genitalia was worthy of first place:

Atomic Catfish!
Sizzle in the oil of doom
Golden fire-kisses

(also thanks for the whiskey, Gail and Ken!)

–Along those lines, Mad Props to CR and Liz for submitting their Haikus in MP3 form since they couldn’t be with us. The crowd dug your haikus. Thanks also for sending me text message after text message protesting the results of the contest. We at the Denver Catfish Festival admire your tenacity as well as your lavish use of wireless technology.

–This year’s Festival MVP award goes to Paul B. We ran out of oil about halfway through, and Paul saved the day by running and getting more. And to top it off, he got peanut oil, which is both superior to vegetable oil and is more expensive. Thanks, Pablo!

**note: I do remember that during Catfish Festival After Dark, I offered co-MVP honors to somebody, but I can’t remember who, nor what it was for. Thank You, Anonymous Co-MVP, for whatever it was that you did.**

–For the first time in Catfish Festival History, we actually had a lost child! She couldn’t find her dad. Vanessa was up to the challenge and took care of it quickly, though. I do hope that the little girl’s first Festival Memories are not only of briefly losing her parents. That would suck.

–There was a naked kid running around at some point in the afternoon, so that storied tradition is alive and well.

–Thanks to Richard & Deana for the excellent Crawfish Monica, and to everybody who brought pies, brownies, sides of all sorts, fried chicken (in an obvious nod to Big Chicken), and to McKenzie and Mallory for making beautiful and delicious Catfish-themed cakes.

This festival was the final event for us at 1871 S. Monroe. We hope that the new owners, whoever they may be, will be fortunate enough to create the same kinds of memories that we have of the place. And, more importantly, we hope they offer full price.

Only thirteen months until the Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival. Location and date to be determined…

Thanks again, folks. I think this one ranks up there with the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Denver Catfish Festivals as one of the best ever.

Joe T., Chmn.

“Ask Me About Securing a Viable Location for the Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

1/20/2009:

Howdy–

Thought you might find this interesting.

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.
“Ask Me About the Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

4/22/2009:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

We at Catfish Festival Headquarters have been hard at work on scheduling and logistics for The Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival, and have a few updates for you, our valued Festivalgoers:

1. As Chairman of the Denver Catfish Festival, it is my job to stay abreast of the latest news on Catfish and Catfish-related issues.

During some recent television research, I witnessed on Animal Planet a type of catfish whose existence I had heard of in legend, but did not know actually existed: The Electric Catfish, genera Malapterurus and Paradoxoglanis.

Apparently these guys have been hanging out in African rivers for thousands of years, shocking the hell out of anything that touches them.

A couple of interesting facts on this discovery:

These hearty fellows are actually the practical jokers of the animal kingdom, like little full-body handshake buzzers, getting cheap and effective laughs from onlooking aquatic life while generally bringing levity to the day in/day out struggle for survival in the wild.

Unlike the more traditional acoustic catfish, their fretboards are slightly easier to play and offer a much wider variety of possible sounds when run through effects processors and amplifiers.

2. THE DATE OF THE DENVER CATFISH FESTIVAL HAS BEEN SET IN STONE (stone-ground cornmeal, that is…) We’re doing it on August 1st, 2009, at the new Denver Catfish Festival Grounds.

Whoa, now, Easy, big fella. I know, I know. That’s the day of the third Phish show at Red Rocks. But let’s look at the facts:

That’s the day of the third Phish show. Two days of wookie-infested noodling isn’t enough for you? My thought is that it would be nice, after the first two shows, to spend some time in the sunshine having a coldbeer and and a plate of delicious Louisiana-raised catfish without fear of law enforcement shakedowns and smelly urchins constantly saying “Hey man, I need a miracle.” Besides, if you’re one of those lucky fools who scored a four-day pass off of Ebay for $800, then you are probably far too affluent for The Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival in the first place.

If you must go to Red Rocks on Saturday evening, we’re lifting the Kelly Clarkson rule and allowing concertgoers to use the Denver Catfish Festival as a jumping-off point for the show. It is a break in tradition, but we realize that the love of Catfish and Phish do not have to be mutually exclusive; however, we will limit the number of Phish songs played at the Denver Catfish Festival to one, Sample in a Jar. Because it’s the popular one that drives genuine Phish fans up the wall, kinda like when you talk to a Deadhead and tell him that you really like Truckin’ and Sugar Magnolia but can’t stand the rest of it.
So, there you have it. Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival merchandise will be available shortly. And remember–it’s never too early to start working on those Catfish-inspired Haikus!

Questions? Comments? Drop us a line.

Sincerely,
Joe T., Chmn.
“Ask Me about The Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival

6/11/09:

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts,

With the Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival a mere FIFTY days away, we at Festival Headquarters are eager with anticipation over this year’s Summer Classic!

As we ponder Catfish Festivals past, it is important that we remember our fallen heroes, without whose valiant sacrifice there would be no deep-fried delicacies for us to feast upon; no cool, splashy goodness for the soaking sweaty feet and the cavorting of happy children; no shade under which our exhausted, sated, and drunken bodies find respite from the cruel summer sun.

Please join us in honoring the fallen:

The Original Presto Fry Grandpappy: This venerable old soldier served in DCF #’s 1 through 3 and has the distinction of being the sole fryer used in DCF #1. “Ol’ Grandpappy” met his end sometime in the evening of DCF #3. After being inundated with catfish and hush puppies all afternoon long, he finally succumbed to exhaustion when an overzealous festivalgoer haphazardly dumped a oversized load of frozen French fries into his tired well, overflowing his walls and snuffing out his once-proud, weakened heating element.
The Presto “Options” Electric MultiCooker: Touted as the “Future of Deep Frying” upon its release, the MultiCooker began its career as an eggroll fryer in the Chairman’s home. Both grab handles melted off of the sides in DCF #3, and its untimely end finally came in DCF#4 after being left on all night and burning itself up. The MultiCooker came in during the dawn of propane-powered deep frying, and is considered by most as the “last gasp” for the genre. While in its time it was a marvel of electric deep-frying, The MultiCooker was never cut out for Festival, or competition-type, frying.
The “Swim Center” Inflatable Octagon Pool, The “Mr. Frog Kiddie Pool,” The “Big Blue Whale” Plastic Pool, and Three Other Pools Whose Names Escape Me: Each died in service to the Denver Catfish Festival of multiple puncture wounds. Perhaps we should create a shrine to the unknown kiddie pools.
(And yes, this shrine should contain a…reflecting pool.)
The SunBlocker Green Canopy Shade: Died of complications related to a broken leg sustained after a collision with a vertigo-impaired festivalgoer during DCF #6.

We owe a debt of gratitude to these heroes; please take a moment to reflect on their noble sacrifice as we prepare for…

The Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival!
August 1, 2009,
First Filet-Hits-Oil promptly at 1:12 PM MDT
To be Held at the New Denver Catfish Festival Grounds:
3156 Geneva St.
Denver, CO

Sincerely,
Joe T., Chmn.
“Ask Me About The Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival”

More updates to come…

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