The 31st annual Shoals Catfish Festival is all set to begin with pre-events this Thursday, according to Festival Co-Chairpersons Audra P. Deckard and Amber Hoffman. Following the Benefit Auction Thursday night, June 30th, this year’s event will be held on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, July 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Pre-festival events will be conducted on Thursday, June 30th, starting with the Business Decorating Contest, sponsored by the Shoals Business Association. The judging of the decorations will be done at 4:00 p.m. On Thursday night, the Kids & Chalk on the Sidewalk will again be sponsored by Tri Kappa Sorority, starting at 6:00 p.m., near G & R Variety. Carla Hoffmann will be the Chairperson of the Chalk event again this year. The Benefit Auction, with Mike Akles and staff donating their time, will be held on Thursday, June 30th, at 7:00 p.m., at the Fire Station. Bring items to donate to the auction site the day of the auction! On Friday, July 1st, the Martin County Museum will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., which is located at the old Courthouse in West Shoals. Also on Friday, July 1st, the Softball Tourney will begin at the Shoals Ball Park. Starting time will be 6:00 p.m., according to Chairman Pat Garrett. Opening Ceremonies for the 31st Festival will begin at 6:00 p.m. Friday at the Stage located on Main Street at the Recycling Building. The Shoals American Legion, Post No. 61, will post the Colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem sung by Judith and Megan Montgomery. Marie Hawkins will give an update on the Bicentennial projects and celebrations here in Martin County at 6:15 p.m. Taking to the stage at 6:30 p.m. will be the “Little Firecrackers of Shoals,” Little Miss, Pre-Teen, Junior Miss, and the Shoals Catfish Festival Queen Contests. The Chairperson for the Little Firecrackers is Tammie Asbell, and Lisa Bauer is the Chairperson for the Queen Contests. Following all the crownings, the Martin County Idol Contest will be held at the Main Street Stage. According to Chairperson Cristy Jenkins, the event starts around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 2nd, will feature a very full day of events. The Bridge Fishing Contest will be held, from 7:00 a.m. to Noon. The Martin County Museum will be open again from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 2nd, the Catfish Volleyball Tourney will begin at the Ball Park courts, according to Chairperson Cathy Royston. A 3 On 3 Basketball Tournament will take place on Saturday, July 2nd, at the Ball Park courts. Registration will be at 9:00 a.m. for all teams, and the games start at 9:30 a.m. with two age groups. A 3-Point Contest will start at 12:00 p.m. and will run until 5:00 p.m. The event Chairman is Bryson Abel. The Kids Fun Ride (bicycles) will take place in front of the stage Saturday morning. Registration will begin at 10:00 a.m. and the Ride will begin at 10:30 a.m. according to Chairman Melissa Carrico. Following the Ride, Kids Games will take place at the stage, beginning at around Noon. A new event at this year’s Festival will be a Kickball Tourney. It will be held at the Shoals Ball Park on Saturday, July 2nd. Joshua Sexton is the Chairman of the event and it will begin at Noon. At 1:00 p.m. Saturday, the judging for the Pie Baking Contest will begin. Pies can be brought in starting at 9:00 a.m. at KRB Appliance. Tillie Brown is the Chairman of the event. Registration for the Legion Ride will begin at 1:00 p.m. Satrday, with kickstands up at 2:00 p.m. Also happening on Saturday, July 2nd, is the Horseshoe Tourney. According to event Co-Chairmen Chris Wadsworth and Zack Brown, the tourney will start at 2:00 p.m. at the Boat Landing horseshoe court. Starting at 3:00 p.m. is the Catfish Cookin’ Contest which will be held at the East side of the Post Office. American Legion Post No. 61 is sponsoring a Texas Hold’em Tournament. Registration starts at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, and the tournament starts at 5:00 p.m. at the Shoals American Legion. An Elvis impersonator, Carl Poe, will take the stage at the Recycling Center at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.  “Transcendent” will also entertain on the stage Saturday, July 2nd, starting at around 8:00 p.m. Starting the day off Sunday, July 3rd, is the Catfish Bicycle Race. According to Chairman Tim Sanders, registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the Race starts at 8:00 a.m. on the East Side of the Post Office. The County Museum is also open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Corn Hole Tournament will begin at 10:00 a.m. Sunday. According to Tom Taylor, event Chairman, the event will be held at Bailey’s Lot (behind the Town Hall). Also happening on Sunday, July 3rd, will be the Baby Contest, which will be held at the Fire Station. According to event Chairman Ashley Hawkins, the 0 to 12 months old event will begin at 2:00 p.m., and the 13 to 24 months old contest will begin at 3:00 p.m. For Sunday evening there is a great lineup of entertainment. First to hit the stage at 4:00 p.m. is Steve Jeffris. Following Jeffris will be The Revival Road Quartet, beginning at around 5:15 p.m. Judith Montgomery and Family will take the stage next, at around 6:30 p.m. Wrapping up the entertainment for the evening will be Joel Weitkamp and The Storehouse Band, at 7:45 p.m. Martin County’s Strongest Competition, Tug of War, will take place at the Ball Park starting at 8:00 p.m. The event Chairman is Chris Bearden. Monday July 4th starts off with the 5K Catfish Walk, beginning at 7:30 a.m., and the 5K Catfish Run, beginning at 8:00 a.m. Both will start at the Shoals Ball Park. Victoria Bauer is the Chairman of the Walk and Chris Jones is the Chairman for the Run. According to parade co-chairmen Theresa Fuhrman and Norma Baker, the Catfish Festival Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. Dr. Donald Kerr is this year’s Grand Marshal. After the parade the Shoals High School Band will perform in front of the stage at Noon. The Big Catfish Contest winner will be announced at 2:00 p.m. Weigh-in will be at White River Marine on Main Street from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. The Catfish will be on display until 2:00 p.m. The Egg Toss is set for Monday, July 4th, at 3:00 p.m. according to Brent Courter, event Chairman. It will take place in front of the Post Office. Monday evening the Martin County K-9 Unit, along with surrounding counties, will put on a K-9 Demonstration at the Shoals Ball Park, at 5:00 p.m. “Snake Blood Remedy,” a Bluegrass band from Melborne Florida, will take to the main stage at 7:00 p.m. for the evening entertainment. At 10:00 p.m. the Great Catfish Festival Fireworks Display will be adjacent to the Ball Park. Throughout the Festival the Shoals Lions Club will be providing catfish sandwiches on Main Street. The Shoals Senior Citizens Center will be serving Ham and Beans on Friday, July 1st, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. St. Mary’s Parish Hall will be serving Pork Barbecue after the Parade on Monday, July 4th. During the Festival other food stands will be available, as well as local business establishments. The Flea Market will continue throughout the festival starting Friday, July 1st, going through Monday, July 4th. There will be antique cars next to Highway 50 and Main at the caution light. Deno’s Amusement Rides will also be at the Catfish Festival in front of the Courthouse. Welcome to Shoals . . . It’s Catfish Festival time again!