By Danielle Gallegos
For The Signal
Every year, thousands gather for fish, french fries and fellowship at St. Clare’s Catholic Church in Canyon Country for what’s become an annual tradition during Lent.
However, due to COVID-19, the 43rd annual Friday fish fry had a little different feel this year.
Instead of a line wrapping around the parish, on Friday, people continued the Lenten lineup that’s available for two more weeks via the church’s drive-thru service.
“The first week, the church sold approximately 860 plates. The second week was approximately 1,150,” said Sue Peak, the event coordinator. “It’s a pretty big community event.”
The congregation is asking people to wear masks and stay in their vehicles in accordance with COVID-19 protocols, according to organizers. Friday’s attendees were just happy to be able to support the church and gather, even if they were all socially distanced.
“(The fish fry event) means a lot because I was born and raised Catholic,” said parishioner Loretta Knapp, “and (I’m here) just to support the church and people, and help as much as I can during times of COVID.”
This year, the set menu was available via phone or online, with drive-thru pickup. The package served included three pieces of beer-battered Alaskan cod, french fries, cole slaw, a dinner roll, tartar sauce, ketchup and malt vinegar, and a choice of soda or water.
The first week was a challenge as they were not expecting such a large response, but Peak said it was a learning experience, and the volunteers found a way to guide cars through the drive-thru.
“It’s been a learning experience because, that first week, we had 800 cars. It needed to be modified,” said Peak. “That second week, it ran smoothly because we decided to offer a package of food.”
“The first week we were backed up on the street. We rerouted it through and, overall, it’s gone very smooth,” said Scott Fryer, a volunteer who helped with traffic. “It’s 20 minutes from the time you get here to the time you leave.”