George Combs Jr. was named the grand marshal of the World’s Biggest Fish Fry’s 2021 grand parade during Saturday’s opening of the Fish Fry headquarters.
The souvenir booklet was dedicated to the late Tim Alsobrooks, a longtime local reporter and radio personality who died in 2019.
Combs had to wipe tears from his eyes once the announcement was made Saturday morning. Combs, known by many by his nickname of “Tink,” asked Loria Plunk, general manager of this year’s Fish Fry, to say it all over again just to make sure it was real.
“They got me good,” Combs said after the ceremony. “My daughter’s boyfriend lives in Clarksville and she said ‘We need to make sure he gets in all the activity of the Fish Fry, starting with the naming of the grand marshal.’ I didn’t think that much about it at first but I told my wife it looked like something fishy’s going on.
“I’m more than honored, I’m just thankful. Paris and Henry County is a wonderful place to live and there’s so many wonderful people here. I’m blessed and thankful that they think this much of me to honor me in this way.”
Combs worked for many at the Paris Board of Public Utilities and ShowThyme Catering until his retirement in 2019 and is a well-known community booster. He was the 2019 recipient of The Post-Intelligencer’s Laura Dougherty Award, for helping to promote the community.
He is the husband of Daphne Cox Combs and the father of Khadijah Combs.
Combs loves to talk to people, refusing to see coworkers as coworkers or strangers as strangers, rather people that are part of the community he loves and are worth striking up a conversation with.
“You can either be a part of a community or be in the community. I choose to be in the community and I’m blessed every day for it,” said Combs.
Alsobrooks formerly worked for numerous radio stations that serve the Paris and McKenzie region. He had his own morning show “Tim in the AM,” that he was very proud of.
His mother, Kim Norris, spoke briefly to the grand opening crowd of about 30 people after he was announced for the book dedication.
She fought back tears and emotion as she talked about how much it means to her that people loved Alsobrooks and wanted to honor him.
“We all loved this man that was taken too soon. He was a great supporter of all community events in Henry County but he loved him a plate of catfish at the World’s Biggest Fish Fry,” Plunk said about Alsobrooks.
Hostess Princess Victoria Owen and Second Maid Samantha Clark were present at the event and each expressed their excitement for the Fish Fry being back this year.
Owen had originally been chosen first maid in the 2020 Hostess Princess pageant, but moved into the hostess princess role after Emily Raines stepped aside this year. The pageant winners from 2020 never got to serve last year because of the postponement of the Fish Fry.
The Fish Fry headquarters will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays until April 22. It will open Saturday and April 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The headquarters is located at 219 Tyson Ave. and can be called at 644-1143.
T-shirts, hats and other souvenirs are available for purchase inside the headquarters.