By Hugh Fisher
It’s a family tradition. Larry and Brenda Shue started bringing their sons to the annual Kiwanis Pancake Festival years ago.
Today, their sons are grown, but some things haven’t changed.
Saturday morning, just about 9, the Shues sat finishing their pancakes and sausage: Larry and Brenda, son Mark and daughter-in-law Melissa and grandson Graham, 3.
“We just make a family affair out of it,” Brenda said. “You see people you haven’t seen all winter.”
At 9 a.m. Saturday, it was all but impossible to find a parking space at the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.
More than 1,000 turned out Friday night for the first round of pancakes and sausage prepared by Kiwanians and students from local high schools’ Key Clubs.
And half that many had come through the doors by 9:30 a.m. Saturday, with club members ready to continue serving past the 10 a.m. cut-off if crowds persisted.
Taking a break from his work at the griddle, organizer Charlie Deadwyler said he was pleased with the turnout.
But aside from the sizzle of the grills, and the delicious aroma of pancakes and sausage, there’s something else satisfying about
“We just celebrated our 90th birthday,” Deadwyler said.
The Kiwanis Club of Salisbury was chartered in November 1920. Back then, it was the 329th club to be founded.
Today, Kiwanis International than 13,000 clubs worldwide, as well as clubs and outreach for children, teens and college students.
The Salisbury club has 75 members, and there are Key Clubs at Salisbury, East Rowan and North Rowan high schools.
Joy Loeblein, a junior at Salisbury High, said she first got involved in the Key Club so she could be active in community service.
Saturday, she was helping watch children at an inflatable slide set up in the YMCA gym – an opportunity for the kids to burn off some of their sugar-fueled energy.
“It’s great to be able to be in a community that contributes to students and their education,” Loeblein said.
Proceeds from the Pancake Festival go toward scholarships and a variety of other outreach efforts, Todd Hildebran said.
He’s a member of the Salisbury club and is currently serving as district governor.
Hildebran said that the various Kiwanis clubs have more than 250,000 members around the globe.
And the club is very active locally.
“We give to Smart Start, we sponsor Little League,” Hildebran said.
Every year, the Kiwanians of Salisbury give dictionaries to local elementary school students.
All those projects are fueled by pancakes, too.
Still, Deadwyler said he hoped that more people would come out and be a part of the local Kiwanis Club.
“Young people don’t want to join clubs anymore,” he said.
Hildebran said that the Pancake Festival may not always bring in new members, but that it has an impact on the community through other means.
Even so, as they dropped off their tickets and went forward to claim a tasty breakfast for a worthy cause, locals got a friendly smile and a chance to pick up a pamphlet describing the many things Kiwanians do for the community.
The hope is that it generates enough interest to keep the pancake tradition alive for yet another generation of Rowan families.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.
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