41st Annual Catfish Festival Returns to Hardeeville
Author: Special to CH2
The 41st Annual Catfish Festival begins Friday, Sept. 18 and continues through Saturday, Sept. 19 with a splendid assortment of amusement rides, parades, contests, food, crafts and family musical entertainment.
Festivities begin at 6 p.m. on Friday with singer/songwriter and radio personality, Brad Wells, who is well-known locally for his stimulating crowd interaction as he plays a mixture of classics and current hits. In between Wells’ two sets (which last until 9 p.m), will be a delightful children’s parade, featuring kids dressed like characters from a book they read this summer. Games and amusement rides will continue throughout the evening as well as all day and all evening on Saturday.
The “Grand Parade,” featuring winners from the Miss Hardeeville Beauty Pageant, gets Saturday’s activities underway at 10 a.m. Opening ceremonies for the festival follow at noon and will set the tone for a full day of music and local entertainment. Entertainers will include; Zebulun, a Christian band; the “4-Christ” interpretive movement group from Red Dam Baptist Church; Step of Faith Chorus; Mark Bonds performing blues and rock & roll; Grupo Son Del Coqui a Latin American/Caribbean salsa, merengue and bachata band; and Hi-Fi Station, finishing the evening with beach, soul and rock & roll.
A cook-off featuring catfish stew and a delicious bake-off including cakes, pies and cookies will take place at the town football field concession stand and conclude with an awards ceremony. A corn hole tournament for all ages will provide competitive fun. Myra Ancheta’s interactive belly dance demonstration, followed by the Marilyn Youmans School of Dance performance will highlight the afternoon activities, along with plenty of food and crafts to purchase including the one-of-a-kind Catfish Festival T-shirt. The evening will culminate with a spectacular fireworks display at 10 p.m.
Deanne Spikes, elected as chairperson for this year’s event said the key to the longevity of the Catfish Festival “is the great group of residents who make up our City of Hardeeville and love to celebrate our roots and the city where we live.” Spikes, who was “delighted and deeply honored” to be elected to chair this year’s event said young people especially enjoy the festivities, in particular the amusement rides and the parade. Adults look forward to the music and the vendors. “It is just great for everyone, and our fireworks are simply spectacular.”
The festival is held primarily behind City Hall on Main Street in Hardeeville. For details, contact chairperson Deanne Spikes at (843) 368-1706 or visit hardeevillecatfishfestival.com.
History of the Festival
The Hardeeville Catfish Festival started as a fundraiser by the Hardeeville Marine Rescue Squadron to help defray costs for assisting the United States Coast Guard, and the South Carolina and Georgia Department of Natural Resources with their search and rescue efforts for boaters in distress and water accidents. The first few years, the event took place at Millstone Landing along the perimeter of Hardeeville. The city then brought it downtown and renamed it the “Celebrate Hardeeville Festival.” After five years, the Chamber of Commerce and the Hardeeville Marine Rescue Squadron assumed its management and renamed it the Catfish Festival.
This year, the festival was re-designated as a single entity non-profit corporation and is organized and directed by a group of talented and dedicated citizen volunteers.