COSTA MESA : Lions Plan Annual Fish Fry Spectacular

The 47th annual Fish Fry is scheduled this weekend with its traditional offerings of marching bands, carnival rides and, of course, Canadian cod.

More than 100,000 people are expected to swarm to Lions Park during the three-day festival, which will start at 5:30 p.m. Friday with the serving of the first fish dinner. For $5, people will get a full helping of cod, plus a chance to win several prizes, including the grand prize: a 1992 Ford Mustang LX.

Profits will be sent back to the community by the Costa Mesa-Newport Harbor Lions Club, which puts on the yearly festival to help local service clubs and other needy groups.

Officials boast that more than $1.4 million has been collected during past Fish Fries, with last year's total about $100,000. Lions Club member Les Miller, who has participated in the event since it started in 1946, said members hope this year's event will be as successful.

"The community has always supported us really well," said Miller, who was club president in 1947. He added that members hope that the recession will not affect participation.

Scheduled entertainment includes the Yaw-Hoo Revue and the Grupo Folklorico Topializ. Other special events include a baby contest and the Miss Costa Mesa-Newport Harbor Lions Beauty Contest, open to unmarried women ages 16 to 25 who have never won a Fish Fry beauty contest. Both pageants are scheduled Sunday.

Another highlight will be the Lions Parade Spectacular, which will begin at noon Saturday at Wilson Street and run down Harbor Boulevard to 19th Street, where it will jog west to Anaheim Avenue and end at Lions Park.

Miller said free vision, hearing and blood pressure tests will be offered to carnival-goers.

The Fish Fry will continue until 8 p.m. on Sunday at the park, 570 W. 18th Street.

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