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Taneytown church has Fish Fry Fridays tradition

Larry Webster, president of the Holy Name Society at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Taneytown, holds a tray of homemade salmon cakes at one of the Fish Fry Fridays in 2013.
Larry Webster, president of the Holy Name Society at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Taneytown, holds a tray of homemade salmon cakes at one of the Fish Fry Fridays in 2013. (Submitted photo)

The folks at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Taneytown have a tradition of offering fish fry dinners during the Lenten season, and they are gratified to host returning guests from all over Central Maryland and southern Pennsylvania each year, as well as welcoming new diners.

"I guess it's word of mouth," said Richard French, chairman of the fish fry dinners. "If you've been there last year, you're going to come back, because you're going to enjoy it."

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The series of six Fish Fry Fridays will begin Feb. 20 and run through March 27, each held at the church's parish center at 44 Frederick St.

Each week, the church receives its seafood delivery on Thursdays, French said, and on Fridays, about two dozen volunteers from the St. Joseph's Holy Name Society come together to cook and serve the meal, which is offered from 4 to 7 p.m., for dining in and carrying out.

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The menu includes a choice of kettle-fried catfish, kettle-fried pollock, baked catfish, baked tilapia, fried shrimp or homemade salmon cakes. Each platter comes with kettle-fried potato wedges and a choice of two sides — including succotash, stewed tomatoes, green beans or applesauce — and is completed with a roll and a beverage.

The platters are $12 for adults, $6 for youth ages 6 to 10, and free for children 5 or younger. The prices have increased by $1 this year, French said, due to increased market prices for catfish and shrimp.

All proceeds go to the parish and community, said Holy Name Society President and volunteer Larry Webster. The group uses its funds for everything from scholarships to helping needy families in the community to making improvements to church facilities, including the adding of gardens and educational pathways and restoring the church's cemetery.

French said that Catholic churches sometimes offer fish fry dinners during Fridays in Lent because of the papal requirement that Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent. For many families that means turning to fish and other seafood instead of meat, he said, and church communities came together to celebrate those days and the remembrance of the passion of the Christ.

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Webster agreed that St. Joseph's Fish Fry Fridays offer more than just a meal.

"With our fish frys, when people come, it's more like a social gathering," Webster said. "We'll have people who are there for an hour, hour and a half, two hours sometimes."

In addition to the meal, the Fish Fry Fridays will have a 50/50 raffle each week, French said, with chances being sold for $1 each or six for $5. Contestants do not need to be present to win.

For more information, call the church at 410-756-2500. To place a large group reservation in advance, call 410-775-7500.

Shrove Tuesday meal

Strawbridge United Methodist Church in New Windsor is offering a Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner from 3 to 7 p.m. Feb. 17.

The church offers a plated meal, including pancakes, fried potatoes, sausage, chipped beef gravy, sausage gravy, baked apples, tea, orange juice and coffee.

Guests are asked to give a freewill offering for their meal, though people who wish to take their meals to go are asked to contribute $9 per platter.

Strawbridge United Methodist Church is at the intersection of Md. 31 and Wakefield Valley Road.

For more information, call 410-635-6480 or visit http://www.strawbridgeumc.org.

Community meal

Union Bridge Church of the Brethren has initiated a new community meal to take place at the church from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month.

The first dinner was held Jan. 21, said Jolinda Beers, one of the coordinators, but due to snowy weather, had a very small turnout. The next meal will be Feb. 18.

"We're trying to make it a neighbors meeting neighbors thing," Beers said.

In addition to the meal, which is open to all and offered free of charge, there are also activities available for all ages.

The church is at 124 S. Main St. in Union Bridge.

For more information, call the church office at 410-775-2717 or Beers at 240-285-8189.

Daytona 500 party

The Terra Rubra Lions Club is having a Shrimp-Chicken-Bull Dinner to celebrate the Daytona 500 on Feb. 22.

The party begins at 11 a.m. and runs through the end of the race. The hot buffet will close at 3 p.m., but munchies and beverages are available throughout the day.

Tickets are $25 per person in advance or $30 at the door, and include a dinner of fried and steamed shrimp, beef, fried chicken, homemade crab soup, hot dogs and sauerkraut, baked beans, slaw, chips, pickles, lunch meats, soft drinks, beer and desserts.

While the race is being shown on 8-foot projection televisions, there will also be drawings, pools, silent auction, small games of chance, raffles and a 50/50 drawing.

Proceeds will benefit the Terra Rubra girls softball program and the Terra Rubra Lions Building Fund.

The event will be held in the Terra Rubra Activities Building at 6300 Middleburg Road in Middleburg.

For tickets or more information, call 410-751-1673.

Carrie Ann Knauer covers New Windsor, Union Bridge, Taneytown and neighboring communities in the West Carroll area. Contact her at 410-596-9248 or carrie.knauer@gmail.com.

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