Suwannee Valley Times is distributed into the following cities and towns: Lake City, Live Oak, Madison, Branford, Dowling Park, Falmouth, Lee, Wellborn, Jasper, White Springs, Fort White, High Springs and Alachua

Suwannee River Catfish Festival was bustling

The weather was beautiful Saturday, as the Suwannee River Catfish Festival kicked off its annual event in Branford. -SVT Phots by Tami Stevenson

Catfish dinners - Making the magic happen! Suwannee Catfish Board Member and IGW Concrete Owner Hal Harris, left, in green, with volunteers in orange manning the fryers, -SVT Photo

By Tami Stevenson

The 2024 Suwannee River Catfish Festival was bustling this year. Some come for the live music and line their lawn chairs around the live entertainment area. Some come to shop at the many vendor’s booths and everyone comes to get one of their famous catfish dinners.

Visitors never seem to mind the long wait in line for that once-a-year catfish dinner. Of course, some of the proceeds go to benefit the Fisher House in Gainesville and two scholarships, but their catfish dinners are just plain good!

“As far as I know this is probably the busiest year so far,” said Nathan Daughtrey, festival board member. “Every year we order more catfish and every year we run out. This year we ordered approximately 40 percent more and already expect to run out.”

Some of the proceeds go to the Fisher House in Gainesville, benefiting veterans and their families. The Fisher House provides military families housing close to a loved one in the hospital for an illness, disease or injury.

Two scholarships are also given every year to benefit Suwannee County students that submit an essay about the Suwannee River. First Place winner receives $1,000 scholarship and Second Place winner receives a $500 scholarship. This year, the First Place winner for the essay was McKayden Wilkerson and Second Place was Austin Humphries.

The festival was held at Suwannee River Greenway Park in Branford. Suwannee River Catfish Festival organizers would like to thank everyone for their support of this family-friendly community event.

This photo shows more than 30 people in line waiting for a catfish dinner. That’s dedication!
-SVT Photo


First time visitors enjoying catfish dinner, said glad they came. L-R Bryson Britt, Logan Petscher, Brandyn Petscher, Moses Naas, Amber Petscher, Bastian Britt, service dog Mika, a 1.5 year old German Shepherd and Chuck Petscher. -SVT Photo 

Suwannee Catfish Festival Board Members plating catfish dinners, non-stop! -SVT Photo

Music lovers bring their lawn chairs for all day live entertainment at the Suwannee River Catfish Festival. -SVT Photo

Midnight Blue playing “Gimme Three Steps” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Sound was provided by Spectrum Integrated Systems, Inc. with Greg Douglass. -SVT Photo