FranklinIs Connected

34th Annual Fish Fry

34th Annual Fish Fry

FRANKLIN, TN—It is time once again for all-you-can-eat fried catfish and loads of fun at the 34th annual Bethlehem Fish Fry, Friday July 18, 2008, at Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tennessee.

Considered to be Williamson County’s longest running fish fry and indisputably a Middle Tennessee tradition for the past 33 years, the Bethlehem Fish Fry features wonderful live bluegrass music, an incredible silent auction as well as a fun-filled children’s game area.

“This has become a favorite family tradition for middle Tennesseans,” said event chairperson Dave Speer of Franklin. “This year, we are happy to announce that the fish fry will go ‘green’ by using recyclable, biodegradable and environmentally friendly products wherever possible.”  Speer continued, “The fish are still swimming in a pond in Isola, Mississippi, and will make their way to Franklin just in time to be served up fresh to almost 4,000 folks. Also on the menu are hush puppies and white beans, along with delicious cole slaw made from a secret recipe prepared by a committee of wonderful cooks.  It is such a fun time for so many great reasons and a portion of the proceeds benefits the missions of our church,” according to Speer.

Bethlehem’s talented church Music and Arts Director Harry Robinson will lead the entertainment which features the Bethlehem Bluegrass Band along with the Franklin First United Methodist Church Bluegrass group led by Dr. Jim McGinley. “The live Bluegrass music has become an important part of our fish fry, and the public loves it. It is a real down-home concert that our guests really enjoy,” says Speer.

While the dinner is the main attraction, the children’s game area has an inflatable obstacle course, giant slide, castle walk, games and more.  More than 350 of the members are involved in the event and some of the best cooks in the Grassland area are participating in the bake sale. Pound cakes by noted Grassland cook Emogene Ownby-Hyde will also return by popular demand.

“This is an old-time summer social where you’re guaranteed to have a great meal and loads of entertainment,” Speer said.

Another great Fish Fry tradition is the silent auction. Hundreds of sought- after items will be available including music memorabilia, game tickets and local art work.  Speer says, “Every year the silent auction gets bigger and better. We keep adding more rooms in the church just to handle the crowds looking at silent auction items.”

The Fish Fry is held on the church grounds off Old Hillsboro Road in the Grassland Area from 4:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.00 for adults in advance or $12.00 the day of the event – children under 10 are always $5.00.  Hot dogs are available for kids. Carryout dinners are also available.

Bethlehem United Methodist Church is located at 2419 Bethlehem Loop Road near the intersection of Hillsboro and Old Hillsboro Roads in Franklin, Tennessee.  For more information and tickets, contact the church at (615) 794-6721.


Emogene’s Mississippi Pecan Pie or Tartlets
(Pecan Tartlets are a favorite Fish Fry bake sale item and go quickly.)

1 cup white corn syrup
1  cup chopped pecans (chopped is more flavorful)
½  cup sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon butter, melted

Place syrup, pecans, sugar, slightly beaten eggs, vanilla, salt and butter in bowl and stir to combine. (Optional – add ¼ cup whole pecans on top.)  Pour into unbaked 9 inch pie shell.  Bake 50 minutes at 325 degrees. Or, for tartlets, fill uncooked shells.   Cook at 350 degrees for 15 to 17 and then reduce to 300 degrees for 10 minutes.

*Emogene Ownby Hyde