Hundreds of hungry mouths lined up for a free meal Friday at the 44th-annual Rainy River First Nations’ fish fry.
An assembly line of volunteers battered fish, warmed kernel corn, and sculpted bannock as the people filed in line at 4 p.m.
Over the course of a few hours, more than 600 pounds of walleye and sturgeon were served to the masses.
Although the feast began early, it did not end until sunset.
“We had a fair turnout but it is down from previous years,” RRFN Chief Jim Leonard noted of the 600-700 people who did attend.
“It has been down from previous years.”
But Chief Leonard said he appreciated any number of friends, family, strangers, and community members at the pow-wow grounds.
“There are people stopping in and it is their first time being here,” he remarked.
“[They] say it feels like a big family outing. That’s what we want to see.”
Although the event came with a hefty price tag, Chief Leonard suggested the self-funded $20,000 was an investment in community.
“We are here and we want to be good neighbors,” he reasoned.
“We want to do things that not only support my community but the district as a whole.
“This is our way of showing the district that we appreciate our neighbours and that we have to work together,” he stressed.
Alberton Reeve Mike Hammond was among the many district leaders in attendance.
He noted that despite the weather, he was grateful for the “good meal” and company of others.
“I’ve been going for lots of years and I have always enjoyed myself,” Reeve Hammond said.
“I like to go to associate with the other parts of the district.
“I think it is a good community event for both parties,” he added.
“We get to know them and they get to know us.”