PITTSBURG — Roy Surridge has been called Mr. Pancake.
The 84-year-old earned the title after serving pancakes during the Pittsburg Noon Kiwanis Club’s annual pancake day for 60-consecutive years. He wouldn’t miss it for the world.
“Not if I can possibly be there,” he said. “I enjoy it.”
Surridge has helped fry sausage, stir batter and flip pancakes, but at this Saturday’s event he and his wife, Eileen, will be serving patrons — she might as well be Mrs. Pancake since Eileen has been by her husband’s side each year.
The pancake feed, from 7 a.m to 1 p.m. in the lower level of Memorial Auditorium, is the club’s largest fundraising event each year.
Event chair Donna Sue Pintar said this is the 68th annual event and brings roughly 800 people each year. Each person gets at least two pancakes, which means a lot of work is required.
The roughly 60-person group begins setup on Friday and arrives an hour before the event starts to get the burners heated up.
“Everyone always wants to know (what makes the pancakes so good), and I just tell them it's Kiwanis’ love,” she said.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children age 10 and under. The price includes pancakes, sausage and a beverage along with live entertainment.
The group supports over 20 programs.
Additionally, Kiwanis supports K-Kids Clubs in George Nettels, Lakeside and Westside elementary schools, Builders Club at Pittsburg Community Middle School, Key Club at Pittsburg High School, Circle K at Pittsburg State University — all the groups teach students leadership skills and the importance of community involvement.
The pancake feed started in 1949, but since records have been kept in 1963, the event has over $216,000.
The event is in conjunction with the Pittsburg Parks and Recreation Department’s eighth annual Holiday Craft Fair and Santa’s Workshop, which will also be in the lower section of Memorial Auditorium.
Attendance is free, but a canned good is encouraged for each person to attend, according to PPRD Recreation Superintendent Sara Vacca. The cans go to Wesley House’s food pantry.
From 8 a.m. to noon, 20 vendors will fill the area with unique items to sell. Vacca said the vendors will have unique gifts not found at big chain stores that are perfect for Christmas.
Slots for the vendors are sold out and their fees help the PPRD raise over $500 for the Christmas distribution.
Santa’s Workshop is from 9 a.m. to noon, and will have a variety of games along with a chance to take a picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will be arriving at 10 a.m. Photos are free and will be posted on the PPRD’s Facebook page.
“They can eat, shop and play all in one place,” Vacca said.
— Michael Stavola is a staff writer at The Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MichaelStavola1.