WAUSAU (WAOW) -- It's the first Friday of Lent, and that means people across north-central Wisconsin are flocking to fish fries.
Saint Anne Parish in Wausau will hold a fish fry each Friday evening throughout the Lenten season. This is a tradition dating back 61 years. It runs each week during Lent from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m.
Organizer Vernell Theisen said they planned to feed about 900 people Friday. The church offers dining on site as well as carry-out.
Theisen said people from all walks of life and all religions visit the fish fry to sample baked or fried fish, fish tacos, shrimp, french fries, baked potatoes, potato salad, cole slaw, bread, and homemade desserts.
“I've been coming here since I was a little kid. I grew up in this church and my mom worked here for years so it's kind of a tradition to come here, especially the first one,” said John Heiting of Wausau.
Over at Hiawatha in Wausau, fish fries are also a longtime tradition. During Lent the restaurant offers fish fries Wednesdays and Fridays. Owners say they typically see a 30 percent increase in business during this season.
“They have a variety of fish and it's all really really good. It's cooked well, seasoned well. It's really good food,” said David Thomas of Wausau.
The fish fry at Hiawatha has been going for 37 years, owners say.