Mullet-Less Festival Still Draws Crowds For Food And Fun - - The News for South Mississippi

Mullet-Less Festival Still Draws Crowds For Food And Fun

"They couldn't get the mullet this year. Looks like by the turnout that no one really cares," Gautier resident Jannette Sims says.   

Gautier resident Jannette Sims says she doesn't mind standing in line to support the Gautier Men's Club, whether they're serving the festival's namesake fish or not.   

"Normally when we come to the festival we have mullet, but this year we'll have catfish. And that's fine," Sims says.   

With a line for plates 50 people deep, the Gautier Men's club is known for serving up the best mullet in town for the past 16 years.   

"We have a couple of guys that are breading the catfish and they have their own secret recipe. Won't let us close to that table. They serve them up on platters to the cookers. We have about 3 cookers cooking the fish. These guys won't tell us how long or what the temperature is," Gautier Men's Club member Richard Rassmusen says.   

And while the fish in the fryer might be catfish instead of mullet, there are kids here at the festival tossing mullet themselves.   

"I'm gonna throw that mullet far as I can!" one young mullet-tosser says.   

A cooler kept the handful of mullet fish that actually made an appearance at the festival cool. But Sims says that the Gautier Mullet Festival isn't just about the fish itself, but instead, a chance for people to get their minds off of Katrina.   

"People need some relief from all the devastation they've been through. Getting together and seeing something normal. And this is something normal for Gautier and the people of the Gulf Coast," Sims says.   

So whether the obstacle is Hurricane Katrina or a shortage of mullet, Rassmusen says that the city of Gautier can overcome anything.   

 "It just shows that this community will pull together and just pull off a great stunt with any kind of adversity," Rasmussen says.   

The Gautier Men's Club has already developed a game plan for next year to make sure there's plenty of mullet to go around. They will recruit high school students to help with the fish gathering, teaching them how to use mullet nets and enlist them in the fish gathering to prepare for the festival.

By Keli Rabon

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