Pancake fans line up for Kiwanis Club’s 65th annual festival

Published 12:01 am Sunday, April 24, 2022

By Madeline Wagoner

SALISBURY — On Friday evening, cars wrapped around the J.F. Hurley YMCA on Jake Alexander Boulevard to pick up pancakes cooked and served by the Kiwanis Club of Salisbury, kicking off the weekend festival that has been held every year since 1957.

Circular griddles lined the wall inside the YMCA’s gym as members prepared pancakes and sausage for a hearty thank you to the donating individuals of the community. Each plate was hand-assembled and delivered by members of the Kiwanis Club much like their constant teamwork to supply children’s needs throughout the rest of the year. The event was originally planned to go back to an indoor setting this year, but with the rise of the omicron variant of COVID-19, the club reevaluated and decided to host it again as a drive-thru fundraiser.

“We’re hoping to bring back the social atmosphere next year,” said Kyle Yoder, club president who is now in his second term. “With the help of our incredible sponsors and the community, it’s still amazing that we’re able to continue the festival. It’s our main fundraiser for the year that funds all of our children’s charities.”

Melissa Yates of sponsor Lantern Realty and Development has been one of the directors of the Kiwanis Club for four years.

“I was looking for a place to connect with the community. The club was very open and compassionate about kids’ services. What we do is sponsor children whether that’s purchasing car seats for low-income families or our ‘Bring Up Grades’ program for eight local elementary schools. Our goal is to better one child at a time,” she said.

Members welcomed drivers waiting in line with a smile, took donation tickets or $5 if they didn’t already have one — or if they decided they needed an extra plate. Each plate included three pancakes fresh off the griddle, butter, syrup and three sausage patties. In addition, members offered complimentary cans of Cheerwine, one of the community sponsors.

The club served 369 take-outs Friday night and 501 Saturday morning, for a total of 870.  That was down from the total last year of 990. The club also expects to have nearly $30,000 in profit from the event after ticket sales, contributions, sponsorships and donations are complete. That would be the most ever.

The club plans to continue funding various projects to help purchase car seats for low income families, financially support education programs such as the Rowan County Special Olympics and Livingstone’s College’s Bridge Program and collaborating with service leadership programs such as the Key Club at Carson, East Rowan, North Rowan and Salisbury high schools. Key Club members also played a key part in delivering pancakes for the festival, with 20 helping Friday and 16 on Saturday.

During the holidays, Kiwanis Club members serve dinners with the Three Wide Foundation in addition to providing Christmas gifts with Terrie Hess House. The full list of projects and sponsored charities can be found on the club’s website under the “What We Do” section.

The club is accepting new members and has inducted seven people since October. For more information, contact secretary Tom McElveen at 704-762-5806. The club meets on Fridays from noon-1 p.m. at the Country Club of Salisbury, 747 Club Drive, but not this coming week.