Every year, on the third Thursday in August, about 1,000 people gather in a pecan grove on a farm in Grady, a small farming community in Southeast Arkansas where the local Lions Club hosts the annual Grady Fish Fry. They’ve been at it for 63 years, raising funds for community projects as well as Lions Club projects.
Upon arrival, attendees purchase a ticket and line up where they are served catfish, hushpuppies, french fries, slaw, watermelon and iced tea then sit at one of the of picnic tables in the pecan grove while the Cummins Prison Band performs.
Like the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival and Gillett Coon Supper, also held annually in Southeast Arkansas, the Grady Fish Fry is a “must-attend” event for campaigning politicians. Politicians work the crowd and visit with constituents while a few curious guests gather at the 63-year-old 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. Sixty-three years later, the contraption is still spitting out hushpuppies, two at a time, into the hot grease.
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 16 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.