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LEWISTON – The annual Lewiston Smelt Festival kicks off May 3, sponsored by the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce, Village of Lewiston and Silo Restaurant, in cooperation with Niagara River Anglers.

Visitors will be welcomed to the foot of Center Street, along the Lewiston waterfront, where they will find free samples of the tiny, deep fried delicacy, served up by the Niagara River Anglers and Niagara River Region Chamber staff, board of directors, and local dignitaries.

Smelt, which feature a distinctive cucumber fragrance when plucked from the water, are one of the few fish that sportsmen are allowed to net.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has deemed Lewiston one of the best places in the country for smelt dipping.

Beginning at 6 p.m. May 3, the Niagara River Anglers will batter and fry 400 pounds of smelt. Samples are free courtesy of sponsorship from Waste Management Inc, but donations are accepted towards the Niagara River Angler’s community programs. Additional food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Smelt-tasters can also enjoy entertainment from the Lakeside Blues Band and an appearance by the Smelt King.

The tent, stage and tables are provided by Falls Tent and Awning. Portable toilets on premises are donated by Modern Corp.

The Smelt Festival will continue at local restaurants which will prepare their own culinary versions of smelt over the weekend. These participating restaurants can be identified by a decorative fish flag outside their door.

The event is geared toward an adult audience.