The Cahaba River Fry-Down is the primary fundraiser for the Cahaba River Society and a celebration of the Cahaba River - the heart of America’s Amazon (the Mobile Bay watershed),  and our region’s primary drinking water source. This competitive cook-off is surrounded by a festival featuring  fun for all ages with a carnival - like atmosphere featuring live music, delicious food, a climbing wall, games for all ages, prizes, wildlife experiences, a beer garden and more! Bring your family, bring your friends, and celebrate with us as we raise awareness on the importance of the Cahaba River and party in celebration of all that river provides for this community, state & country!


We call it a fish fry-off, but teams are encouraged to prepare the catfish in any way they choose. Guests have enjoyed fish cold-smoked, grilled, sautéed – lots of creative and varied presentations. Corporate and community team creations are evaluated by a panel of high-profile judges.

The Fry-Down is gaining a reputation as a culinary event, and a great addition to Birmingham's dynamic food scene. It is unique in that there are no other area events including team catfish competition and crowd tasting. Attendees are encouraged to sample all offerings and vote for Crowd Favorite.  A team of celebrity judges evaluates each dish and scores it in various categories.

Culinary competitors compete for the following awards:

BEST SIDE-DISH: (Best Side-kick): Every amazing hero needs an awesome side-kick!

MOST CREATIVE: (Fish with an Attitude): Give us more than U-12 Boiled Shrimp Cocktail on-ice with a cup of cocktail sauce just made from ketchup and horseradish. Get creative! Do something that tells us who you are and what a community fish fry means to your team.

CROWD FAVORITE: Fry-Down attendees will have the pleasure of sampling fry team flavors! One doubloon will be given to each guest. Invite lots of friends to attend the event = more votes for you! The team which acquires the most doubloons will be the “Crowd Favorite.” (See “GUEST TASTING INFO” for more information.)

BEST PRESENTATION: (Best Dressed): This one includes everything about your team – your team name, your secret weapon, even your team “uniforms,” hats, and the presentation of your plated food to the judges. Have fun, and we bet this one will influence People’s Choice as well!

BEST OVERALL: (Baddest Fish in the River): This one combines Best Presentation with Best Flavor. You need to look good and taste good!

KEN BOWEN TEAM SPIRIT AWARD: We’ve got spirit, yes we do! Show us your team spirit!

MISS CONGENIALITY: Southern Hospitality is our trademark. Show ‘em you’re the host with the most!

CHAMPION OF THE CAHABA: This award goes to the team that rises to the challenge and helps support our work by raising financial support by encouraging friends, family and community to support their team through their personalized fundraising pages on the frydown/swellgives.com website. Each team captain will have a personalized team page to send out to their community and the team that raises the most money by Fry-Down wins this coveted award! So set a goal and reach for the stars!


Beyond the catfish cook-off, Fry-Down offers an array of fun activities for the whole family--enough excitement to keep everyone busy for a whole day of celebrating the Cahaba River. Some of the other attractions include:

~ Local craft brews and specialty cocktails

~ Live music

~ Professional Hula-hoopers & Belly Dancers

~ Prizes & Games for all ages 

~ Children's Activities and Bouncy House - including a climbing wall, face painters, balloon artists, native birds, crawling critters, & so much more!!!

See Comedienne Joy's take on the 2016 Fry-Down:


Check out this coverage of the 2016 Fry-down from .



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