Pitt Congratulations, gentle readers, you have survived the Rona. You have lived long enough to see the return of that most wonderful time of the year: America's favorite event, your stomach's highlight of the year, the social event that welcomes sweet springtime: The Annual Cape Fear Kiwanis Pancake Festival.

Yes, friends and neighbors, once again, it's time to put on a happy face, plus the old feed bag and come on down to Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church conveniently located at 614 Oakridge Ave. in historic Haymount.

This is the 48th Annual Pancake Festival put on by the Cape Fear Kiwanis. For a mere $6, you can shake off the demons of winter and the isolation of quarantines to indulge in all the pancakes and sausage that you dare to eat. All proceeds go right back into our community for various civic groups and activities. You can eat all the pancakes you like without guilt, knowing you are contributing to Cumberland County's good causes.

During last year's bout with the Rona, the Pancake Festival only had to do drive-through orders. However, as the Rona seems to be receding into the rear-view mirror, the Pancake Festival returns to dine in and carry out.

Dine-in and have breakfast with your friends, neighbors and total strangers who are all in excellent moods due to a collective sugar high. As we are unable to keep them out and frankly welcome their money, you will get to see local politicians of all stripes working the crowd. It is a sight to see, not to be missed.

Here is a listing of some of the local beneficiaries of past Pancake Festivals. Bringing Up Grades, Better Health of Cumberland County, Boys & Girls Club of Cumberland County, Cape Fear Valley NICU, The Care Clinic, Catholic Charities, Dolly Parton Imagination Library, EE Smith High School Mentoring Program, Child Advocacy Center, Friends of the Cumberland County Library, Habitat for Humanity, Homeworks, five local high school Key Clubs, Lewis Chapel Builders Club, New Parent Support Diaper Program at Fort Bragg, Operation Inasmuch, Police Activity League, Safe Kids, Salvation Army, College Scholarships to four local students annually, Second Harvest Food Bank, Urban Ministry, USO, Vision Resource Center and the Westminster Church Eyeglass Program have all received grants from the Cape Fear Kiwanis Club.

At about this time, you are probably asking yourself, "Self, what is the origin story of pancakes and some pancake factoids to dazzle my friends?" Funny, you should ask that question as the rest of the column will deal with pancakes' back story.

Mr. Google knows the answer. None other than Ms. Betty Crocker has a history of the pancake out on the interwebs. According to Ms. Crocker, the first mention of pancakes shows up in about 600 B.C. when a Greek poet named Cratinus mentioned pancakes in a poem. In case you are in Greece and want pancakes for breakfast, ask for 'Tiganites.' You will get them with honey and walnuts. During the Middle Ages, the first three pancakes in the batch had religious significance. The three were marked with a cross and not eaten to ward off evil spirits. Evil spirits could be scared by pancakes back then. Not sure that pancakes would work now against Putin in Ukraine, but it might be worth a try.

William Shakespeare liked pancakes as he wrote about them in his play As You Like It when Touchstone said: "a certain knight that swore by his honor they were good pancakes and swore by his honor that the mustard was naught, Now I'll stand to it, the pancakes were naught, and the mustard was good."

The Kiwanis guarantee their pancakes will be good and totally without mustard unless you bring your own yellow condiment. Why anyone would want to put mustard on their pancakes is beyond the scope of this column. As the King of Siam once said: "It is a puzzlement."

Some other pancake factoids: Maple syrup which graces many pancakes, was originally discovered by the Algonquin Indians. The world's biggest pancake, cooked in 1994, was 49.3 feet in diameter and estimated to contain two million calories.

The National Geographic reports that an analysis of starch grains on grinding tools from 30,000 years ago meant that Stone Age cuisine may have included pancakes made from cattails and ferns.

The most flips of a pancake in two minutes were 349 times by a cook named Dean Gould in England in 1995. Southerners eat the most pancakes of any group of Americans. We proudly consume 32.5% of all of America's pancakes. If you have ever driven through Myrtle Beach, you know that Highway 17 is awash with more Pancake Houses than you can shake a stick at if you were so inclined to shake such a stick at that particular type of building.

Allow me to end with the Kiwanis' motto: "Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time."

It is your civic duty to come out, buy and eat some patriotic pancakes. If you come hungry, you will leave happy.

The annual Kiwanis Pancake Festival returns on March 11, from 7 a.m. to noon.

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