"We have two annual fundraisers, and this generates funds for our ongoing projects; the biggest one of which is the scholarships we give away," said Rotarian Dave Stone.
Rotarians also sponsor the science fair, and help clean up parks and playgrounds around the community.
The city blocks off part of Gallia Street at the corner of Chillicothe Street, and the club spends the day, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., serving fish sandwiches with fries, cole slaw and a cold drink to ticket holders. Tickets were sold for $5 each, and visitors either could take their food to go, or sit in the shade on the Esplanade.
"I enjoy being down here and the camaraderie with other Rotarians, and seeing the people coming through. We serve something like 3,500 fish dinners during that time," Stone said.
Rotary president Stephanie Neff said the fundraiser on Friday went off flawlessly, with beautiful weather to kick off the Labor Day weekend.
"It's awesome. We could not have had better weather. We had a nice breeze and clear skies. Just great. The fish was great, too," she said. "We sell hundreds of fish fry tickets and hundreds of dinners. It's such a great thing."
She said thanks to fund raisers like the annual fish fry, the club was able to raise $7,000 for scholarship programs last year.
The fundraiser typically offers a band, also, but Stone said they were unable to get one this year. Entertainment still was available, however, thanks to a weapons display by Portsmouth Police Department.
"What we've got set up here are the weapons that the SWAT team uses on a routine basis. We've got the HK MP5, HK MP40, an AR-15 rifle and a 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun with distraction devices and various safety equipment used by our SWAT team," said Lt. Lynn Brewer of the police department.
Brewer said the police also would perform a demonstration during the fish fry, repelling down the south side of the Fifth-Third Bank building on the Esplanade. He said the police like to put on their show at the fish fry each year, but said they missed last year because of another engagement.
"We always encourage people to come down to the fish fry. It's a great event for the city. Besides that, it's a pretty good meal," he said.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.