Friday, March 19, 2004

'Friendly cod' signs reel
in people for church fish fry

By Angela T. Koenig
Enquirer contributor

fish fry sign
Matt Ponting of Westwood makes his way past a sign on Montana Westwood.
(Mike Simons/The
Cincinnati Enquirer)
With a sea of Lenten fish fries to choose from in Greater Cincinnati, parishioners at St. Catharine of Siena in Westwood are getting creative in luring patrons.

Their hook: two, 8-foot-by-3-foot fish cutouts advertising "Cod & God at St. C Fish Fry."

The fish stand 5 feet tall at a prime location: the front lawn of parishioners Paul and Claire Brunner, 2858 Montana Ave., near the intersection of Montana and Wunder avenues.

The signs are visible from all directions, and St. Catharine's church and school is about 300yards south, at 3324 Wunder Ave..

"People tell us they look like 'friendly Cod,'" said Paul Brunner, a contractor who made the eye-catching fish signs for less than $75.

"We don't make enough money to really advertise, but we've been voted the No. 1 Fish Fry on Wunder Avenue," said parishioner and local funny guy Mark Zenni, who came up with the slogan.

Both men are active in St. C's Athletic Association, which sponsors the fund-raiser.

Last year, the association changed the menu to feature batter-dipped, deep-fried Cod sandwiches, baskets and platters. It also added deep-fried shrimp.

Pizza, soup and desserts are served as well.

All menu items cost less than $6.

The event grossed $10,000, said Zenni.

There's no count yet on this year's catch, though crossing guard Barney Vater, 79, said the sign grabbed his attention and may lure him away from his traditional fish fry for a tasting.

"The God and Cod rhyme, it's clever," said Vater.

The fish fry continues from 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. the next three Fridays in the school cafeteria.

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