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School's fish broil blends in reunion

(ran Beach, East, Seminole editions)

Gulf Beaches Elementary School will hold its 73rd annual Fish Broil on Saturday.

The tradition, which started in 1930 to pay the salaries of teachers, will bring together current and former students and faculty members as well as family and friends.

The benefit no longer pays teachers' salaries, but it does provide the school with supplies not funded by the state or county.

"It's a great way to support the community," said festival organizer Tina Ciecierski. "And besides, it's just a lot of fun."

The Fish Broil began at the Sunshine School in Pass-a-Grille in 1930. The men dug pits on the beach, filled them with coals, covered the coals with bedsprings and broiled donated mullet on top. The women made scalloped potatoes, cole slaw and cakes to go with the fish.

Sunshine School closed in 1975, but its counterpart on the beach, Gulf Beaches Elementary School, kept the tradition alive. Over the years, a carnival and auction were added to the event.

Gulf Beaches, 8600 Boca Ciega Drive, has about 350 pupils, many of whom live in the beach communities from Treasure Island south to Pass-a-Grille.

Meals of char-grilled mullet or baked turkey will be served with vegetables, rice or potatoes, rolls, dessert and beverage. The cost is $6 for adults and $3 for children 12 and younger. Take-out meals also will be available.

Carnival hours are 2-8 p.m. Dinners will be served from 3 until 7 p.m. A silent auction will be 2-4 p.m. and a live auction will begin at 5 p.m.