Brooklyn Park Lions Kick of ‘World’s Largest’ Smelt Fry
Spring time in Brooklyn Park is not complete without the Brooklyn Park Lions throwing its annual smelt fry.
Wednesday at the Brooklyn Park Community Activity Center, the Brooklyn Park Lions kicked off the 58th Annual “World’s Largest” Smelt Fry. The Lions had to postpone the event in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so organizers were excited to resume the tradition this year.
“Well it’s really a social event,” said Roger Backstrom of the Brooklyn Park Lions. “Every year we have hundreds of people coming out to enjoy smelt. A lot of childhood memories, back in the day, when they’d go up to the north shore and bring back garbage can loads of smelt. It’s kind of a bygone era, a missed memory, and we recreate that for people.”
For $15 (or $8 for children under 12), people can buy a ticket to eat all the smelt they want, along with a side of beans, a roll, coleslaw, and a soft drink. The money helps the Brooklyn Park Lions fund initiatives related to vision, hearing and diabetes.
Curbside pickup available this year
If you partake in the smelt fry festivities, there are a few notable changes this year.
“Well normally we just do the dine-in, all-you-can-eat, smelt,” Backstrom said. “We do get a little carry-out every year, but this year we’re doing a curbside service where you can come in, stay in your car, we will have somebody take your order, we’ll package it, bring it out to your car, and you can drive home and enjoy the smelt in the privacy of your own home.”
As for how much of the small fish they have on hand, well, it’s a lot.
“We usually go through about a ton of smelt every year,” Backstrom said. “We’re not really sure what this year will bring because of the COVID situation. We’re remaining flexible. we’re hoping we get a really strong turnout. we’re planning for that.”
The smelt fry runs through May 14 and goes from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.