By David Highfield

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Church fish frys in Western Pennsylvania are a big deal.

Every Lent, hundreds of fish dinners are prepared every Friday in church basements across our area.

It’s hard to keep people away. But at some churches, the weather apparently managed to do it, or at least change things a bit on Friday.

“The fish fry at Saint Sebastian in Ross Township often has a line of people waiting, but the crowd was slightly thinner, and they blame the cold temps and light snow.

“Especially when it starts falling at around 5 o’clock, because at that point in time, people are going to make a decision if they’re going to go out or not, ” said Sheila Duffy, one of the parishioners helping with take-out orders. “If it had started a little later, we probably would have had a bigger crowd.”

Still, the kitchen was bustling, and the guy outside in 19-degree weather with the fryers was busy.

That’s because while there may have been a few more empty seats, they also had more to-go orders than normal.

“I think the weather has affected that,” said Duffy. “I think more people are getting takeout because our takeout has been very busy tonight.”

It also turned out to be the perfect night to debut their new curbside pick-up, where they’ll deliver takeout orders to you outside while you remain in your nice warm car.

Check out the KDKA Fish Fry Guide here!

At Church of the Epiphany in the city’s Uptown section, they also had more takeout orders

“I think the weather did help our takeout today,” said Bob McLuckie, a parishioner who spent much of his day in the fish fry kitchen.

Fortunately, their attendance was good, too, perhaps boosted by the monster truck show at CONSOL Energy Center next door.

“We think we got quite a few fans who were going to the monster truck show and saw our signs,” McLuckie said.

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Madonna del Castello Parish in Swissvale also had a lower attendance both Wednesday and Friday nights.

One of the organizers says the parking lot was clear of snow and ice both nights, but they still think the weather played a role.

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