An Annual Tradition
Held on the third Saturday every October, this gathering has become an area tradition in both Davie and western Rowan Counties. Fall at this nature park is breathtaking and when the old-time Blue Grass music is added, it becomes the ‘place to be’ for fellowship and a good time.
The Bullhole Gang
They grew up together and a lot of their early memories cluster around time spent at a special place on the South Yadkin River.
Those cherished memories have motivated Ron Bivins, Ronnie Shoaf, Ron Webb and their friends they’ve dubbed “The Bullhole Gang” to show up every year to raise money for RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls.
Great Food and Live Music
No one in these parts has ever disputed that they fry the “best catfish you’ll ever eat” and on Saturday, October 16 from 11 a.m. through 2 p.m., a plate will include french fries, hush puppies, slaw, a drink and dessert all for $7.
“We’ve been feeding just over four hundred in past years,” says Ron Bivins whose wife Teresa is, he adds, “in charge of everything other than the frying.” This year the Bivins hope to break the five hundred mark. This year there are more than twenty-five business sponsors who provide the event’s “profit” margin.
2009 RiverPark Fish Fry Video
Tickets On Sale Now
Tickets are now on sale at the Cooleemee Town Hall, Osborne’s Service Station and the Zachary House in Cooleemee. In Mocksville they are available at the Davie County Chamber of Commerce and in Salisbury at The LandTrust office at the train depot. A kids plate will cost $3.
An average weekend day last summer saw over 150 people enjoying nature at the park for swimming, fishing and “water-sliding” on the rocks. Park goers are encouraged to wear an old pair of tennis shoes to protect against sharp rocks and stabilize walking on very slippery bedrock.
Owned by the Town of Cooleemee, the park is operated by the non-profit RiverPark, Inc. whose board of directors has representation from local governments, environmental and tourism agencies in Davie and Rowan Counties. Governments help support about half of the park’s annual operating expenses and the rest are raised through donations and events like the fish fry and the new “Great Bullhole Duck Race.” Planning continues for a big push to complete the 80+ acre nature park on the Davie side.
Volunteers are always needed to work on these events. They are also encourage to sign up to “walk the park,” greeting visitors, doing spot clean up and to help on occasional park enhancement projects. For more information, call (336) 284-6040 or (704) 647-0302.
RiverPark is located at the end of Erwin Temple Church Road in Rowan County just past the river bridge from Cooleemee. The Catfish Fry takes place at the Margaret C. Woodson picnic shelter. From any direction, take Needmore road just a short piece and turn at the Erwin Temple CME Church.