Lenten fish fry season gets started

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 1 March 2019 at 9:40 am

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Jonathan Incho of Medina, a member of Medina’s Masonic Lodge, pours coffee for Pete Lockner of Batavia during a Lenten fish fry last year at the Cataract Masonic Lodge in Middleport. The fish fries will again be served this year from 4:30 to 7 p.m. every Friday at the Lodge, 20 Main St.

With the arrival of Lent comes another tradition – Friday night fish fries served by several non-profits in the area.

The Millville/Knowlesville United Methodist churches and Medina United Methodist Church each put their own spin on the weekly dinners, which not only serve the community, but help put money in their coffers.

One of the longest running organizations to continue the tradition is Middleport’s Cataract Lodge No. 295 Free and Accepted Masons.

After Medina’s Masonic Lodge sold its building, its members now meet in Middleport, with plans to merge with the Middleport Lodge.

As is customary for “brothers” in the lodge, Medina Masons have long supported the Cataract Lodge by attending the weekly fish fries, and many, such as Jonathan Incho, Frank Berger and Scott Mason of Medina regularly help out with the meals.

It was 40 years ago when Leonard Shepard and F. Fred Johnson, now both deceased, organized the first fish fries as a fundraiser during the Lenten season, according to Herb Koenig of Middleport.

Robert Rook made the first custom-built stainless steel cooker to fit the stove.

The menu has not changed much since 1979, Koenig said.

Deep-fried haddock is still the most popular fish, however, shrimp and chicken have been well received.

Marge Perry’s potato salad is a side dish which people rave about. Other choices include French fries, macaroni salad and coleslaw.

For many years orange blossom ice cream was the perfect ending to the meal, but in recent years that has been replaced with a variety of homemade desserts and donuts.

The dinners are truly a community event, with volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 23 and members of the Roy-Hart National Honor Society having assisted as waitresses, waiters and table setters, much to the delight of diners.

The venue has also provided a place for Girl Scouts to sell their cookies.

Serving will be from 4:30 to 7 p.m. every Friday during Lent at the Lodge located at 20 Main St.

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