Nothing was particularly different about the King William Ruritan Club’s 80th annual Fish Fry, but nothing had to be. It’s the social event of the year, said Gene Campbell, Fish Fry Planning Committee chairman. It brings the whole community together.
More than 600 people came out to enjoy hush puppies, clam chowder and live music.
“It’s a beautiful day. It’s the 80th annual and it’s a tradition in the county. The right of spring we like to call it,” Campbell said. “Everybody has a great time, I call it the social event of the year.”
Twenty-one local businesses and organizations sponsored the event and set up tables, including Pamunkey River Guns, Rozell’s Marine Service, Rappahannock Electric and Twin River Realty.
King William Sheriff Jeff Walton passed out raffle tickets, a dollar each for the chance to win one of three guns: a 12-gauge Remington, 20-gauge Remington shotgun or 22-Ruger rifle, donated by Ruritan Club members Howard Townsend and Bob Haas.
“A lot of people come to support this and the Ruritan supports the community,” Walton said. “It’s one of the biggest fundraisers of the club.”
The money raised at the event will go straight back into the community in the form of scholarships, donations to the rescue squad, fire department, local boy and girl scouts, little league, the 4-H Club and other non-profit organizations in the county, Campbell said.
The event also attracts a host of local politicians, old and new. Former Lieutenant Governor John Hager was present and is a frequent supporter of the club, Campbell said.
Also in attendance was Vice Chairman of Hanover County Board of Supervisors Scott Wyatt, who’s seeking the Republican nomination to the 97th Districts seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.
“I come to this event every year. It’s a great Ruritan event. I’m a member of the Mechanicsville Ruritan — it’s helping to support other Ruritan members as they do their annual fundraisers so they can give money back,” Wyatt said. “I know a lot of these folks.”
The club was founded in 1938 and has donated more than $450,000 to the community over the years.
“I’ve been coming for I can’t tell you how many years and the main reason I come is because I know some of the guys in the Ruritan,” said Jeff Clark, a Hanover resident who’s attended the event for 15 years. “(I enjoy) the fellowship, the food. Some of these people I’ve worked with, old friends or whatever.”
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