74th Seal Beach Lions Fish Fry fundraiser to be held this weekend

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Long-time Seal Beach Lions Scott Newton, left, and Seth Eaker, are among the volunteers who make the annual Fish Fry event possible. Courtesy photo

The 74th annual Lions Fish Fry, which takes place on July 21 at 22 in Eisenhower Park at the foot of the Pier, is the single longest continuously operating, free to the public and non-profit fundraising special event that happens in Seal Beach. Presented by Republic Services and supported by the city of Seal Beach and Sun Newpapers as partners, the event is going to be better than ever! Starting on Saturday at 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. come and enjoy the Fish Fry. This year the Lions have been working hard to make this year collaborative with the Centennial of Lions International. As we move beyond the centennial year in 2017, and the current 79th year for our Lions club, it is worth noting why do the Lions produce this event? Even more importantly, why should you attend?

In 1917, Melvin Jones, a 38-year-old Chicago business leader, asked a world-changing and straightforward question – “what if people put their talents to work improving their communities?” With this question and some vibrant leadership, almost 100 years later, Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization. Our “Pride of Lions” is 1.45 million members in more than 46,000 clubs and countless stories of Lions acting on the same simple idea: let’s improve our communities. Did you know the Seal Beach Lions Club is the most massive club in the Western hemisphere? We are the tenth largest club in the world, beaten only by clubs in India and China. That is nearly unbelievable considering how relatively small our community is. We give back to our community in events, scholarships and donations almost $100,000 per year.

Some examples are: the Marcia Haley and Nancy Grgas Scholarship Funds, supporting the Seal Beach Classic Car Show with our Pancake Breakfast, emceeing and providing support to the Christmas Tree Lighting, California Lions Friends in Sight vision screenings and eyeglass distribution, meals at the Ronald McDonald house for residents, support for all of our veterans through gift packs and support of the VA, developing leadership in our five Leo’s programs, producing and enhancing the Arts & Crafts Faire as part of the heritage of Seal Beach. We could go on and on, but you get the idea. In 1925, Helen Keller addressed the Lions Clubs International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, USA and challenged Lions to become “Knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” With that challenge, Lions all over the world have become the tireless advocacy and aid agency for the blind and visually impaired. The Seal Beach Lions have become particularly active in this area lead by Lions Cathy and Scott Newton, former Queen of Hearts Adrianna Zigenbusch and her husband, President Ryan Zigenbusch. Just last year alone, our Lions club has processed and helped at sight clinics over 10,000 people, from Mexico throughout California and even in our town of Seal Beach.

Fish Fry events have been a staple of many community organizations, and notably the Lions from coast to coast. For Seal Beach, the Lions produce many functions, but it is the Fish Fry that the Lions ask our community to give and attend. This year’s co-chairs Mike Haley and Scott Newton have produced considerable improvements in flow for the food and beverage lines.

Saturday begins at 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., enjoy Lucky Jack; at 1 p.m., the John Grillo Band takes the stage; Robby Armstrong will play 3 to 4:45 p.m.; Damn Dirty Apes, back for the second time, will be there to close out from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday starts with NXTricks from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Persons of Interest from 12:45 to 2:30 p.m., King Salmon from 2:45 to 4:30 p.m.and finally, Sugar Lips closing out Sunday from 5 to 6:15 p.m.

This year, there may be a few of Car Opportunity Drawing tickets available on Saturday morning for the Subaru Crosstrek as the lead prize, with a MacBook Air, a Pedego electric bike and Apple Watch for the opportunity drawing.

In 1951 Lions club secretary, Buell Brown wrote the club minutes, “It is the only event of the year that brings the people of the town together for a good old fashion visit, and that one item make our Fish Fry a truly worthwhile Lions activity. The Fish Fry has never been operated with the idea of making any money, just friends, yet it has never failed to pay us for our effort, with a nice sum for the treasury.” Lunch that year was a dime. Whole dinners have gone for a bit more now, but it is still a great value.

Be sure to thank a Lion too. There is always room for one more Lion as well in our club! Attendance as still is free, and there is band entertainment, a continuous merchant opportunity drawing, sponsored by the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce. We hope you will buy some food and drink (please don’t bring your own) and enjoy the event. This year has a great line up of bands.

All may be found on our website at sealbeachlions.org.

Frequently asked questions about the Fish Fry

Where is lost and found? At the Information Booth at the entrance of the Fish Fry. Items are then transferred to the Jack Haley Safety Building at 820 Ocean, which is right next to the Fry each end of day for collection.

Where do I get a wristband to drink? At the beer/wine garden, along with your drink tickets. YOU MUST have a wrist band to have an alcoholic beverage in your hand!

What can I do to support the Lions? Buy stuff here, eat food, drink beverages, get Merchant Raffle tickets, support the Leos & become a Lion! We welcome you to join – grab anyone who is identified as a Lion.

Where are restrooms? They are located at the foot of the stairways behind beer garden with handwashing stations. There are additional public restrooms at the foot of the pier at the end of the ramps. There is one handicapped restroom located at the north east corner of the fenced area, closest to the corner of 10th and Ocean.

Where do I park? Parking in any beach city in California in the Summer can be challenging. We recommend you park in the beach lots located on Eighth and 10th Street or in non-restricted parking areas in Old Town. If possible, please walk, bike, run, skateboard or whatever to the Fry to decrease parking demand—particularly if you live in Old Town Seal Beach, even the Hill. Carpool whenever possible! Plus, it is good for the environment.

74th Seal Beach Lions Fish Fry fundraiser to be held this weekend