Lenten fish fry tradition adapts to pandemic

File image of a meal at a Friday fish fry
File image of a meal at a Friday fish fry(WSAW)
Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 6:57 PM CST
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MACKVILLE, Wis. (WBAY) - It’s the time of year for Lenten fish fries. For one church in Outagamie County, the deeply-rooted tradition will carry on with changes because of the pandemic.

Last year, Lent happened at the start of the pandemic, when food service was severely restricted to takeout and curbside options only. Wisconsin’s safer-at-home order was issued on March 25.

Donna Brincks, a volunteer for St. Edward School and Parish in Mackville, said, “Last year we only could have three in-house fish fries, and then we had one takeout in March and the last two we had to cancel. So, really affected the fund-raising for our parish and school.”

This year, while restrictions have been eased and coronavirus cases are dropping, many restaurant owners continue to focus on takeout and curbside.

Volunteers for the St. Edward fish fry, which begins February 19, say on a normal year they’ll serve around 550 people for dine-in and take-out.

“I think it’ll be down some, but we’re hoping that the drive-through takeout, people are feel safe enough and it’s so convenient and the social distancing, and we’re all going to be wearing masks, we think it should workout good,” Brincks said.

St. Edward Parish switched to carry-out only and is now offering contact-less pickup.

“Basically they come up, somebody’s going to meet them at their car, they’ll have a number posted in their window, they’ll come down and get their food, bring it right to their car, take their payment, and they can just drive off,” Brincks described.

Volunteers at St. Edward have been prepping since Wednesday for the to-go orders starting Friday.

All proceeds go to St. Edward’s religious education programs.

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