After nearly seven decades of frying fish to golden perfection, one might say the Pickerington Lions Club has its annual Labor Day Fish Fry down to an exact science.
That culinary science is in the form of a recipe so secret the Lions Club's own president doesn't know what it is.
The Pickerington Lions Club's Labor Day Fish Fry will get underway in Victory Park at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 1 at 11 a.m., immediately following the annual Labor Day Parade.
That's when Lions Club members fire up the fryers and commence to feed a hungry population throughout the day, until either the fish runs out or until about 3 p.m.
Brian Fox, a Lions Club past president, said the amount of fish sold usually depends on the weather, but when it's all said and done, it's a lot of fish.
"On a decent day, we will fry pretty close to 540 pounds of perch," Fox said.
"If it rains or the crowd is light, we might have some left over. We'll keep that frozen and use it for a future Lions Club meeting," he said.
Fox said the fried perch is delicious thanks to a secret batter developed by former Pickerington city councilman and Lions Club member John Washington.
"He used it for many years," Fox said.
"Before he passed away a number of years ago, he wrote the recipe down and gave it to some other Lions who continue to use it to this day," he said.
"It's so secret. I don't even know it and I've been president of the club for four terms."
A Pickerington Labor Day tradition since 1949, the annual fish fry operates as both a fundraiser and major service project for the community.
"We continue to do it because it is truly a great family-friendly event and it is part of the history of our community," Fox said.
Keeping the tradition alive also means tinkering with success.
Lions Club members continue to strive to make the event better, especially in terms of being customer-friendly by reducing wait times for food.
"This year we purchased a new and larger fryer to add to the other fryers that we use so hopefully that will move things along more efficiently," Fox said.
He said the Lions Club is grateful for its many sponsors for their help putting this year's event together.
"Mount Carmel Hospital is the event's main sponsor," Fox said.
"Mount Carmel will have a table in Victory Park where the plan is to do some health screenings," he said.
In addition to the fish, Lions Club Labor Day festivities will feature live music, free inflatable amusements for kids and a 50/50 raffle.
At 11:30 a.m. the Pickerington High School North and Pickerington High School Central bands will perform a joint concert in Victory Park.
The concert will follow one of the Pickerington area's signature events, the annual Labor Day Parade.
The parade will start at 10 a.m. at Pickerington High School Central, 300 Opportunity Way, and head north on Lockville Road, west on East Columbus Street and south on Hill Road South.
The theme of the 2014 Labor Day Parade is "A Life of Service." Pickerington resident Tom Brubaker, an active member of the Lions Club for 55 years and longtime community volunteer, has been chosen as parade grand marshal.
For more information about the 2014 Pickerington Lions Club Labor Day festivities, go to the Lions Club website at www.PickeringtonOH.Lionwap.org and click the Labor Day tab.