Annual Fish Fry Scheduled
Among the many nonprofit endeavors in the Sandhills, few have endured longer, or fit more into the soul of the Sandhills than the Moore County Shriners and their annual fish fry, which is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, at the Southern Pines National Guard Armory.
Once a year, the now mostly graying members of the Shrine club tow their customized cooking trailer from its undisclosed storage location to the Southern Pines National Guard Armory in preparation for a longtime favorite event.
"If you have lived around here for three or four decades, you can remember the cooking aromas coming from the vicinity of Memorial Field, at the corner of Bennett Street and Morganton Road," says a spokesman. "The proliferation of fine eating establishments were just a glimmer on the distant horizon in those days, but rain or shine, few could pass that the scene of so many storied baseball games without stopping for another local outdoor favorite pastime: eating.
"Since those early days, a more health-conscious public and a responding Shrine Club have kept up with the trend of how we enjoy healthy, but also delicious meals. By using a healthier cooking oil and buying a more expensive fish, the cooks of the club, who also cook for many other functions in this area, turn out the most delicious Southern 'soul food' to be found away from your favorite fishing campsite."
The fish is accompanied by french fries, cole slaw that is prepared by a well-known local restaurant, hush puppies and iced tea.
Diners have the option of driving through a pick-up line or parking and eating inside the Armory at a dining area set up for the occasion.
Only once in 45 years has the September event failed to take place. In 2001, two days before the scheduled event, the World Trade Center was attacked and -nearly 3,000 lives lost. National Guard Armorys around the country were secured and closed to nonmilitary -personnel, requiring the fish fry to be canceled.
"But, as always, the fundraising for Shriners Hospitals for Children helps crippled and burned children receive treatment at no charge to them or their -parents," says the spokesman. "Many Moore County children have undergone care at one of the 22 hospitals and burn centers. Shriners normally transport the children to our nearest hospital in South Carolina or in the case of burns, they are flown by volunteer pilots to a burn center in Cincinnati."
No government money is received. Funding is solely raised by Shriners.
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