For more than 60 years, people from all over southeast Arkansas and beyond have traveled to a tiny farm town in Lincoln County to eat catfish and watermelon, listen to the Cummins Prison Band, visit with friends, relatives, and politicians and support the Grady Lions Club.
The Grady Fish Fry is held each year on the third Thursday in August in a pecan grove on Hardin Farm in Grady where Grady Lions Club members and volunteers fry more than 1,000 pounds of catfish and 200 pounds of hush puppies, slice about 500 watermelons and make more than 200 pounds of slaw to feed more than 1,000 paying guests.
Proceeds from the annual event help support Lions Club projects such as World Services for the Blind and disaster relief and humanitarian needs worldwide as well as local civic projects.
Upon arrival, attendees purchase a ticket and line up where they are served catfish, hushpuppies, french fries, watermelon and iced tea or water then sit at one of the of rustic picnic tables in the pecan grove while the Cummins Prison Band plays.
Meanwhile, politicians work the crowd and visit with constituents while some curious guests gather at the ancient hushpuppy machine, made especially for the Grady Fish Fry. The late M.E. Argo, a machinist and Grady Lions Club member, made the hushpuppy machine in his welding shop more than a half a century ago.
Watch the hushpuppy machine spitting out hushuppies and the prison band playing Eric Clapton’s Lay Down Sally in the videos below.
The event will be held this year on August 17 from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.. The farm is located off Highway 65 South at Grady. Tickets, which are purchased at the event, are $15 for adults and $5 for children between 6 and 12 years of age. There is no charge for children under the age of 6.