Mettler’s Fish has undoubtedly served a lot of sandwiches along the Street Fair midway since 1921

Mark and Joy Mettler pose inside their fish sandwich stand during the Bluffton Free Street Fair Friday afternoon. The sign behind Mark Mettler notes that the family’s operation has been at the Street Fair for 100 years. (Photo by Dave Schultz)

By DAVE SCHULTZ

A case could be made that the Mettler’s fish sandwich stand is as much a part of the Bluffton Free Street Fair as anything else you can name. 

The stand, which is on Washington Street just west of Main Street, is operated by Mark and Joy Mettler, with their children Zach Mettler and Erika Mettler Squires, and their children’s spouses. There are five grandchildren in line to join the operation.

There’s a small sign on the board inside the stand noting that this year is the family’s 100th year at the Street Fair.

The Street Fair is the center of the fish  stand’s existence. The family lights it up for one week — the week of the fair — and works at it for the week.

“My grandfather and uncle used to take it to Auburn for a few years, but they stopped that,” Mark Mettler said.

Sure enough, on Friday afternoon, the family — seven members on this day — was together preparing and serving fish sandwiches. It was a warm day and a busy day, but the couple took a few moments to talk about the operation.

Fairgoers dine outside of the Mettlers’ fish sandwich stand on West Washington Street Friday afternoon. (Photo by Dave Schultz)

The sign on the outside, facing Main Street, says it best: “Ruth Mettler’s Original Famous Fish Sandwich.” Ruth was Mark Mettler’s grandmother, and what she made is what’s still made.

It’s been 100 years at the Street Fair, and things are still going strong.

What will happen next?

“Erika says that she would take over,” Joy Mettler said.

So the legacy appears to be in good hands for yet another generation, which means that fairgoers can continue to get their fair fish fix.

“It’s a small miracle,” Mark Mettler says.

A  small miracle, 100 years in the making.

daves@news-banner.com