By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald
SHOALS — Starting Wednesday, downtown Shoals will come alive as the town celebrates the 28th annual Catfish Festival through the Fourth of July weekend.
The festival begins Wednesday with decorating contests for businesses and a sidewalk chalk contest for children. The day ends with an auction at the Shoals Fire Station.
On Thursday, the fourth, the festival begins in earnest, starting with the Catfish bicycle ride through Shoals. A catfish cooking contest and egg toss contest kick off the afternoon, but at 6 p.m., the opening ceremonies begin at the main stage at Shoals’ recycling center.
On the main stage, the Miss Catfish Festival queen will be crowned, along with the Little Miss, Preteen and Junior Miss queens. After the queen is crowned, the band “No Plan B” will take the stage. At 10 p.m., fireworks will be set off at Ball Park.
The fun doesn’t end with the fourth as events continue Friday. Scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. with a catfish fishing contest and the beginning of the softball tournament, the day culminates with a Hillbilly beauty pageant and “Martin County Idol,” set for the main stage.
Events begin early Saturday with the catfish fishing contest, starting at 7:30 a.m. on the White River bridge. Also starting at 7:30 a.m. is the 5K Catfish Run/Walk at Ball Park. A basketball tournament and volleyball tournament will also be held at the park.
At 10:30 a.m., the Catfish Parade begins downtown. Joy Gibson is slated to be the Grand Marshal this year. The rest of the afternoon will hold a bike show, cornhole tournament, a Texas hold Ôem poker tournament and a battle of the bands set for 6 p.m. at the main stage.
The children take the stage Sunday with a baby contest from birth to two years at the Shoals fire station. At 4 p.m., Steve Jeffris will be in concert at Shoals United Methodist Church and at 7 p.m., Judy Montgomery will be featured in a gospel sing at Shoals Christian Church.
Throughout the festival, food will be available from various vendors, including catfish from the Shoals Lions Club. Ham and beans will be served at the Shoals senior citizen center from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and pork barbecue will be available after the parade on Saturday.
For more information, contact festival chairman Dan Steiner at 617-0200.