The Athens Kiwanis Pancake Day has rocked along for more than 65 years, but not without a few changes along the way.
Kiwanis member Thomas Faulk, who heads the committee preparing for March 2, said the emergence of COVID-19 has the club looking for the safest way to conduct the event while still raising plenty of money for Kiwanis projects during the year.
Faulk said ad sales are a big part of the revenues from the event and will be even more important this year when indoor seating will be limited to about 50% due to COVID-19 restrictions.
"This year, we're putting together an ad team to really focus on ad sales," Faulk said.
In 2019, 2098 people ate at the Methodist Church on Pancake Day. There were nearly 300 deliveries.
Last year, in one of the last Athens events before COVID-19 protocols were set in place, 2143 came through the door and there were 210 deliveries.
President Jeaneane Lilly said, for many the attraction of Pancake Day is not just the food, but the chance to socialize and sometimes see people you haven't seen in about a year.
Pancake Day dates back to 1954 and for years was held at the Henderson County Junior College girls gym. In the late 1960s, the pancakes were moved to the National Guard Armory, where it stayed for decades. Then came several years at the Cain Center.
When the Cain Center closed for its ultimate remodeling, the club moved it to the fellowship hall at First United Methodist Church. That's where they're planning on holding it in 2021.
Through the years, Pancake Day proceeds have helped provide many scholarships to local students, upgrade Kiwanis Park several times, and help the community in other ways.