Shoals Businesses And Residents Prepare For 35th Annual Catfish Festival This Weekend

(SHOALS) – Businesses, residents and town workers were seen getting the Shoals Community Park mowed and putting the final touches in decorating businesses for the 35th Annual Catfish Festival and 200th birthday of Martin County Indiana this weekend.

This year’s festival was placed on hold, as it is normally held on the Fourth of July. It has been said “Good things come to those who wait.” This weekend we will see if this holds true for the small town of Shoals.

“We are super excited to have our event. COVID-19 put our event on hold which is normally held on the 4th of July. However, the catfish draws people from all over the state and our tourney’s normally drawing large crowds,” said Audra Deckard, Chairperson of this year’s Catfish Festival.

“The only event canceled this year is the softball tourney and events that have very small children. Other than that we expect to have a regular event,” said Deckard

This year’s Grand Marshal is Robert “Bob” Force who was part of the organizers of the first Catfish Festival 35 years ago. Bob is a member of the Shoals Lions Club and Masonic Lodge in Shoals. He retired as a construction worker building bridges across southern Indiana.

One of the favorite things to do is fish from the bridge in Shoals during the Catfish Festival.

Those wanting to enter the parade are asked to call ahead of time. Contact Theresa Fuhrmanat at 812-631-1044 or Norma Baker at 812-709-0542.

“People do not want to miss the spectacle of the fireworks in which we put on an awesome display on Saturday evening at 10 p.m. at the ballpark in Shoals,” added Deckard.

A river literally runs through this hamlet of Shoals in Martin County, Indiana. Martin County turned 200 years old this year. The river separates the town from east to west, and a railroad runs through it separating it north and south.

A flag sits in the middle of the White River at the boat ramp in Shoals. The Cornhole Tournament and Horseshoe Tournament will be held at the boat ramp.

Shoals is known for the Jug Rock, catfish and the two gypsum plants that are located just east of the town.

Shoals is a picturesque town and if visitors head further west on U.S. 50 you will see a beautiful overlook of the White River. It is amazing when the fall leaves arrive and the location gives you a wider view of the Martin County countryside.

Todd Eckert (back left), Catherine Salmon (back right), Logan Salmon (front left) and Deegan Cox (front right) help with landscaping at the Shoals Town Hall to prepare for the 35th Annual Catfish Festival.

Starting on Friday, the town will have flea markets, picket ball, volleyball, a kickball tournament, and a bridge fishing contest throughout the weekend.

Town employee Kevin Crecielius, Shoals Town Clerk Sierra Rutledge and Shoals Town Marshal Todd Eckert work on getting things ready for the 35th Annual Catfish Festival.

Each day of the festival there is something specific going on to entertain and fill any appetite for those wishing to join in on the fun.

Here is a list of events for this weekend:

Friday, July 31st:

  • 7:00 a.m. to Noon – Bridge Fishing Contest – Sponsored by Jones Oil & The Bobber Shop
  • 5:00 p.m. – Kickball Tourney Begins – Ballpark
  • 6:00 p.m. – Basketball Tourney – 3 point contest – Sponsored by Travis Brett – Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance
  • 6:30 p.m. – Opening Ceremonies – Stage
  • 6:30 p.m. – Little Miss Contest, Pre-Test Contest – Junior Miss Contest – Catfish Festival Queen Contest – Stage
  • 8:30 p.m. – Kirby Stailey and Dash – Bluegrass and Country Music – Stage

Saturday, August 1st:

  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – County Museum Open – Old Courthouse
  • 7:00 a.m. to Noon – Bridge Fishing Contest – Bridge
  • 7:30 a.m. – 5K Catfish Walk – Ball Park
  • 8:00 a.m. – 5K Catfish Run
  • 8:00 a.m. – Kickball Tourney Resumes – Ball Park
  • 10:00 a.m. – Volleyball Tournament – Ball Park
  • 10:00 a.m. – Corn Hole Tournament – Boat Landing
  • 10:30 a.m. – Catfish Festival Parade – Grand Marshal Robert E. Bob Force
  • 2:00 p.m. – Big Catfish Contest – Weigh In Shoals Fire Station on Water Street from 8:00 a.m – 11:00 a.m. On display until 2:00 p.m.
  • 2:00 p.m. – Horseshoe Tournament – Boat Landing
  • 4:00 p.m – Egg Toss – In front of the Shoals Post Office – Sponsored by Edward Jones Investments
  • 4:00 p.m. – Martin County Sheriff’s Office Jeep and Bike Ride Leave Shoals High School parking lot at 5:00 p.m.
  • 5:00 pm – Pickleball Tournament – Ball Park – Youth registration – 5 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Adult registration – 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. Event sponsored by Bo-Macs Drive-In
  • Rumble by the River Wrestling – Stage

Sunday, August 2nd:

  • 3:00 p.m. – Catfish Cookin’ Contest – Eastside by Post Office – Sponsored by Shoals News
  • 6:00 p.m. – Gospel Sing – Judith Montgomery and Family, Robert Sullivan, Witness Quartet

Food Vendors:

  • Catfish Stand – Shoals Lions Club
  • Ham & Beans – Thursday July 30th, 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Senior Citizens Center
  • Other food stands are available – as well as Local Business Establishments

Please Follow CDC Guidelines:

  • Put six feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
  • Face coverings are mandatory under the Governor’s current guidelines.
  • Wash your hands often when soap and water are available, alternatively use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
  • During the parade please seek areas along the route that are less crowded.
  • If you have symptoms, been diagnosed or have been around someone with COVID-19 stay home.

Any additional questions about the 35th Annual Catfish Festival can be directed to Audra Deckard at 812-631-3271 or the Facebook page at