Batter up: FUMC hosts 61st annual Pancake Day

Published 4:13 pm Monday, February 11, 2019

By J.R. TIDWELL / Editor

First United Methodist Church in Clanton saw a big crowd turn out for its 61st annual Pancake Day fundraiser on Feb. 9.

Attendees pay a $5 entry fee and are treated to all-you-can-eat pancakes for the duration of their stay. The event ran from 5 a.m. until noon.

The Methodist men put on Pancake Day each year.

“This place was packed out,” said Dan Nolan, who helps organize Pancake Day each year. “I think we have served over 1,000 people today.”

Nolan said he has been helping with the event since 1964.

“They started out at $1 a ticket,” he said. “I know from looking at the records. It went from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Some of the people would eat twice on the same ticket. I could eat pancakes twice in one day. It has grown since then.”

Those years of experience are useful when it comes to planning the event each year.

“It takes a lot of help,” Nolan said. “We have done it so many times, and we have good records. I ordered 12 cases of pancake mix and 12 cases of sausage. That’s about 250 pounds of sausage. We have 12 cases of syrup. Alaga furnishes [the syrup] for free. Most of the stuff is donated.”

Nolan said the Methodist men have a “dry run” the day before to make sure everything goes smoothly on the day of the event.

“The men had supper here last night, and we got it all ready for this morning,” he said. “The sausage crew came in at midnight. They cook that 250 pounds of sausage ahead of time so we’ll have the griddles free for pancakes. Sausage is better when you let it sit for a little bit so the grease can run out of it. We have it honed down pretty good.”

Ronnie Mitchell, who also helps put the event together, said that this fundraiser is how FUMC makes its money. The church in turn makes donations in support of local organizations such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and Butterfly Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center among others.

“It takes a lot of people,” Mitchell said. “Dan has done it long enough that he has a list of what needs to be done in (in mind). We had maybe up to 60 men in and out at some time this morning. I have cooked pancakes since 4:30 this morning. I have some on right now that I’m about to go turn over.”

Nolan has worked enough Pancake Day fundraisers to know that conditions outside will affect the event turnout.

“It makes you feel good to see this crowd,” he said. “Weather has everything to do with the crowd. We have done it so many times, I can tell you we don’t want rain. It hurts you. So does real cold or real warm. You don’t want a pretty day, because people will do everything but eat pancakes. They will go to the lake or work in the yard. If it’s a little cold and cloudy, people will come eat and spend a couple of hours with us. People across the whole county come out. It’s like a social gathering for them.”

People like Sally Davis, who said she has been to almost all of the Pancake Day fundraisers.

“This is one event I don’t miss,” she said. “The food is always great.”