There are few things better than the smell of sweet maple syrup mixed with butter on a pile of steaming pancakes.
But gathering with friends and family to help a good cause ranks right up there, too.
The annual Kiwanis Pancake Days brings all these elements together for a weekend designed to benefit area projects.
People attending the Kiwanis Club Pancake Days Saturday
"This is our largest fundraiser," said Marietta Kiwanis Club president-elect and event co-chairwoman Sarah Drake. "And all the money we raise goes back into the community."
Last year's event raised around $20,000 for projects ranging from landscaping and maintenance at parks and schools to youth clubs and programs, such as the Key Clubs at Marietta and Frontier high schools, the Marietta Middle School Builder's Club and the B.U.G. (Bringing Up Grades) program at Phillips Elementary.
"The money raised goes a long way to supporting these programs," said Ann Hontz, co-chairwoman. "And other things will come up during the year. We've helped needy families with medical costs and things like that."
According to Drake, who is in charge by default as part of her role as president-elect of the group, there is a lot of planning that goes into the event each year, even though, after 50-some years, it nearly runs itself.
"We start planning in November, and everyone on the committee has a job. But pretty much everything comes together after all these years," she said.
To serve the estimated 1,800 people who walk through the doors at First Congregational Church, there are around 100 volunteers, including many Kiwanians and students, who serve up the massive amounts of pancakes and other goodies.
If you go
- What: 57th annual Kiwanis Club Pancake Days.
- Where: First Congregational Church, 318 Front St., Marietta.
- When: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday.
- Cost: $5 in advance, $6 at the door; children 5 and under are free.
- For tickets or more information: 373-9205 or 350-5788.
"We use 240 pounds of pancake mix, 200 pounds of sausage and 414 pounds of syrup," said Drake.
Added Hontz, "It really is just a wonderful opportunity for the community to get together and socialize and to get out of the house."
Once visitors have filled their bellies with the feast, they can feast their eyes on the numerous gift baskets to be auctioned and raffled off.
"We have about 60 silent auction baskets and many raffle items, all of which were donated by local businesses or Kiwanis members," Drake said.
Among the items to be auctioned or raffled are an Ohio State-themed basket, a local restaurant basket and a special edition red Nintendo Wii gaming system.
Tickets for the all-you-can-eat event are available from any Kiwanis member, at Peoples News, The Marietta Times, Citizens Bank and the Williamstown Pharmacy.