Wed., May 14, 2008
Fifty-one times the elder men of Nixa have braved the elements, donned their rubber boots and shirked their day jobs to go "grabbing," and for the 51st time area residents can reap the benefits of their trouble at Nixa's annual Sucker Day celebration May 17.
By By: Ryan Bowling, staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Nixa's Sucker Day had its origin with four men, tradition tells, who forsook work to go grabbing, a method of catching sucker fish that requires the sportsman to literally grab the fish out of the water or mud. Sucker fish caught lying at the bottom of Missouri's waterways were considered quite a delicacy, and that hasn't changed much.
What has changed is the celebration, which former Nixa mayor Finis Gold officially recognized as a local holiday in 1957 when he moved Sucker Day from the river to Main Street. This year's theme is "Nixa Sucker Day - A Family Tradition," Glenn Scott, an organizer of the event, said.
"It's a lot of fun for people of all ages," he said of this year's celebration.
New this year is a rock-climbing wall to go along with several carnival-type rides for kids and teenagers to enjoy. Sucker Day will also feature its second annual car show, a non-judged event for car enthusiasts and fans of classic automobiles. A presidential trophy-along with a King and Queen's trophy, mayor's trophy and Best in Show-will be awarded to the cars of choice, Scott said.
The 51st annual Sucker Day kicks off at 6:30 p.m., Friday, May 16, with a parade starting at Nixa Junior High School and running down Main Street. Kevin Harp will serve as this year's Sucker Day Parade grand marshal, which will also feature Sucker Day Queen Chelsea Marsh and King Evan Wright, who each received a $1,000 scholarship from the Nixa Sucker Day Committee.
Scott said there's still room for groups and organizations who'd like to participate in the parade, as well. All entries and participants are welcome, especially car clubs, custom cars, equestrians and bicycle riders, he said. There's no entry fee and no forms to fill out—just show up.
Scott said he anticipates more craft vendors at this year's Sucker Day, as well. He said committee members have visited several local craft fairs this year recruiting more vendors for Sucker Day. He also anticipates nearly 8,000 people making their way down Main Street throughout the day. Last year, nearly 850 pounds of fish were sold, he said.
"We want to appeal to the crafts people," Scott said.
And while the parade may appeal to children more, the highlight of Sucker Day will begin at noon on Saturday when the fish fry kicks off. The dinner includes three pieces of fish, homemade baked beans, deep-fried potatoes and cole-slaw. But there's no need to wait till noon to get there-vendor booths open at 9 a.m.
Special for Sucker Day, the Nixa Amateur Radio Club will be operating a special ham radio station and making contact with other ham radio operators worldwide, Scott said. Three bands will also be performing under the big tents throughout the day-Carrie Beason and Big Mo, Fly by Night, and Inside Exit.
Nixa Sucker Day Parade
Friday, May 16, 6:30 p.m.
Starts at junior high, runs down Main St.
51st Nixa Sucker Day
Saturday, May 17
Booths open at 9 a.m.
Fish & BBQ start at noon