Church marks 40 years of flipping pancakes

ENGLEWOOD — Englewood United Methodist Church will celebrate its 40th year of serving up the granddaddy of all pancake brunches on Saturday.

Nov. 24 kicks off the 40th-anniversary season of the church’s nowfamous pancake brunches, served by the men’s fellowship group.

Roger Thomas, head custodian of the church, was at the first pancake brunch 40 years ago.

“It started on Green Street and our attendance for the very first one was about 200,” Thomas said. “After that, we had around 300, until we moved to our present location (700 E. Dearborn St.) In the old place, we were confined because we didn’t have the space. People had to stand in line longer, yet they braved it.”

The pancake brunch is coined the “granddaddy of all” because people come from around the region and bring their family and friends from all over, according to Caroline McCoy, church spokeswoman.

Since 1987, attendance at the pancake brunches has risen as high as 3,200, she said.

“Back 40 years ago, we had so many volunteers,” Thomas said. “People went gung-ho about it. Those workers, eventually they started dying off or moving away, and we still have good workers as far as volunteers, but they’re not as plentiful now as they were 20, 30 years ago.”

Initially, the brunches were served from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., but the church cut the hours to end at 11:30 a.m., which reduced the number of those served.

“It was something the public could attend and associate with friends they haven’t seen in a while,” Thomas said. “That was one of the collecting points, because otherwise they wouldn’t talk for six to eight months, but on Saturday, every other week, it would be the pancake breakfast to gather, converse and socialize.”

People come from Port Charlotte, North Port and Venice to have breakfast at the church in season.

The brunches run about every other Saturday through March 16, then resume April 6 after the Easter break.

Tickets are $4.50 ($2 for children), and buy unlimited pancakes, orange juice and a bottomless cup of coffee or tea, plus an egg and sausage or quiche and fruit as side choices.

A “Flapjack Stack” is new to the brunch at $4.50 — it’s a special scrambledegg disk and flat sausage patty stacked between two light flapjacks.

People can buy crafts from the Women’s Creative Workshop, and they also can purchase a variety of nuts, grapefruit and honey.

Proceeds from the brunch benefit programs such as the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, Englewood Helping Hand and Englewood Meals on Wheels.

The church is located at 700 E. Dearborn St. The pancake brunch will be served from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

For more information, go to http://www.englewoodumc  . net, or call 941-474-5588.

Pancake breakfast at Englewood United Methodist Church

PHOTO PROVIDED
Gary DeWitt and Dale Whitacre load pancakes on plates at the serving window during the Englewood United Methodist Church Pancake Brunch. The 40th pancake brunch season kicks off from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. All are welcome.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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