ABOVE To kick off the festivities, children parade on the pier waving the stars and stripes, singing “She’s a Grand Ole Flag.” Hostess Laura Courtney says, “Guests are invited to bring their friends and family, so we have had people from all over the world. It is one large melting pot of people celebrating together, which is what the Fourth of July is all about.”
ABOVE LEFT Scaly, slimy fish are no match for Laurel Gottlieb. Each year, the Courtneys order up buckets of fish from Dave’s Seafood on DIP, “with the exception of the ‘Year of the Boom’ as we call it when there were no mullets to be found. We tried catfish – with minimal success.”
ABOVE RIGHT The Courtneys’ wharf is fit for a crowd. Here, Lexi Bolton chills out for a popsicle break. Other servings include fresh local seafood, Silver King corn, watermelon, peaches and tons of homemade desserts and specialty salads.
ABOVE Gabriel Barbour heaves the fish. For official judging, “PVC poles are set up at various intervals, and a committee floats in the Bay to take visual measurements and note style points.” Kids grab their nets and hop in the water to retrieve the thrown mullets.
ABOVE A chalk scoreboard tells it all. The awards ceremony commences, complete with engraved trophies for categories such as “Most Interesting Throw.” Lee Vella Courtney presents an award to her grandmother, Meme (Jean Miller).
ABOVE Another tradition includes the comical fish kisses. Partygoer Jaime Gottlieb puckers up to win a prize.
text by lawren largue • photos by laura courtney