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RiverPark Catfish Fry set Saturday

COOLEEMEE — “The water flowed so swiftly over those mossy rocks. It would just carry you down,” says Ron Shoaf, remembering summer days on the South Yadkin River at the Bullhole in Cooleemee. “The swimming pool closed every Wednesday, and that’s where we would head. It wasn’t supervised but no one really ever worried back then.”

On Saturday, Oct. 19, Ron Shoaf will be frying catfish fillets, hush puppies and fries along with Ron Webb, Ron Bivins and nearly a dozen other childhood buddies at RiverPark’s 11th Annual Fall Catfish Fry that raises funds to keep the 80-acre nature park open and clean.

The event begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. There will be a line for those who have already purchased tickets in advance and a separate take-out line to keep things moving. The $8 ticket includes fish, fries, slaw, puppies, drink and dessert.

The fish fry takes place at the end of (645) Erwin Temple Church Road under the Margaret C. Woodson Picnic Shelter off of Needmore Road in Rowan County. That’s just across the river from Cooleemee.

Dedicated local volunteers served over 400 hungry patrons last year. Once again there will be a silent auction of items donated by individuals and businesses.

Ron Webb comes back to Cooleemee all the way from Easley, S.C., with his wife, Cathy. “This is my heritage,” he said. “It’s where I came up and it’s a great cause.”

Every year, Ron Shoaf’s brother, Earl, hauls his fryer from Raleigh for the annual event. “This thing has gotten so big we really need another couple of fryers,” says Bivins, who hopes the event will continue to grow.

Tickets are available until Friday at 4 p.m.: in Cooleemee at the Zachary House, Town Hall and at Village Auto; in Mocksville at the Chamber of Commerce; and in Salisbury at the LandTrust in the old Train Depot.

For more info call RiverPark Event Coordinator Stephanie Waller at (704) 245-2993.

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