On a sunny but brisk Sunday morning, members of the Oakdale Lions Club got the coffee brewing by 4 a.m., started setting up tables around 5 a.m. and the pancake batter was hitting the grill by 6:30 a.m.
It was all in preparation for the annual Ken Ewing Memorial Pancake Breakfast hosted at the Bianchi Community Center on Sunday, March 19.
Taking his usual post at the grill outside the Community Center, George Vieths was there flipping flapjacks as he has for more than 50 years in support of the breakfast. Club members said they expected to serve anywhere from 750 to 1100 people at the breakfast, which included pancakes, eggs, sausage, country bacon, beverages and more.
“This is just for general benevolent giving,” Lion Mike Mack said of the funds raised through the breakfast, which will aid a variety of programs and services, including the Lions Club scholarship fund for graduating Oakdale High School students.
The Lions are busy throughout the year with community service projects, ranging from the placement of flags along several streets for a number of holidays to taking part in Airport Appreciation Day and hosting the Don Osborne Memorial Run; to participating in the Salmon Fest at Knights Ferry, hosting a Student Speakers Contest and working to coordinate the Children’s Christmas Shopping Tour.
Discussion on Sunday debated how many years the pancake breakfast has been served, ranging anywhere from 62 up to 65 years, but all Lions Club members agreed it has been over 60, and the final agreed upon number was 62 years.
Breakfast coordinator Frank Rivera credited Steve Medlen with “knowing the right amount” to order to make sure everyone gets their fill of breakfast favorites.
“People come every year for the food and to see everybody,” noted Rivera. “Typically we serve around 900, that’s a good average.”
Sunday saw a steady stream of diners, starting with the 7 a.m. kickoff through the noontime ending of the event.
Lions Club President Craig Johnson said he was pleased, once again, with the turnout.
“There’s certainly some value here in terms of community,” Johnson noted, with friends and neighbors touching base and enjoying a meal together.
He described it as a “celebration of our wealth” as a close knit, supportive community.