After 63 years, the Grady Fish Fry is no more. At least, for the foreseeable future.
Organizer Jane Buchan, of the Grady Lions Club, who put on the event every year, confirmed to Arkansas Money & Politics on Tuesday that the historic annual event would not happen in 2019. Buchan says that they have not made any concrete decisions going forward, but without some form of corporate sponsorship, they would only lose money on the endeavor.
The Grady Lions Club uses the fish fry as a fundraising event for the club, but have merely broken even over the past two years, according to Buchan. After last year, the event’s main financial backer moved out of the small town, located outside of Pine Bluff. Breaking even was one thing; coming out in the red is another. Without this (or another) partnership, there was no way for the club to support such an event.
The news will surely break the hearts of many Arkansans versed in the history of the Grady Fish Fry. A substantial staple for the state, the event would draw in droves of hungry visitors to the little town of around 400 every year.
It was commonplace to rub shoulders with Arkansas politicians at the annual gathering every August. Former Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson have all made the rounds at the Grady Fish Fry in years past, among many others.
We will continue to follow this story, and provide updates on the future of the Grady Fish Fry as they become available.
Image courtesy of “Grady, Arkansas” Wikipedia page