By Sarrah Peters/News Editor
On Saturday, February 16, the Gadsden Kiwanis Club will host its 62nd annual Pancake Day from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m.
This year, the fundraiser has moved to Gadsden’s new event facility, The Venue at Coosa Landing located at 201 George Wallace Drive in Gadsden.
On Wednesday, February 6, Kiwanis Pancake Day organizers met at The Venue to make sure the move to the new location went smoothly.
Kiwanis member Glen Williams said that the organizers were trying to create a set up that allowed the serving lines convenient access to the kitchen, but make sure not to hinder the crowds that he expects may be larger this year due to the new venue. The organizers are also excited to use The Venue’s “shiny and pretty” kitchen. The biggest change is that because the soft drinks require a water source, the drinks will be separate from the serving line, though all the beverages will remain grouped together.
“That might take a little adjustment from the crowd,” said Williams.
Beginning at 3:30 a.m., volunteers will converge on The Venue to begin the cooking process that will serve over 10,000 pancakes, garnished with fresh Dean’s sausage, hot coffee, cold milk or your favorite Buffalo Rock soft drink. Attendees can dine-in or pick up carry-out meals.
Tickets for eating in or takeout are available for $5 from any Kiwanis member or at the door the day of the event.
Since 1958, this fundraiser has generated well over $1,600,000 in funds used to benefit children in our area. Charity has always been the goal of the Kiwanis Club.
Over the past year, the Gadsden Kiwanis Club has celebrated its centennial birthday. It began celebrations by hosting a statewide Kiwanis Club convention in Gadsden in August of last year. Williams said that although it was not planned, the City of Gadsden’s renovations to the Kiwanis Pavilion coincided with centennial celebrations. Members are considering naming the pavilion’s conference room in honor of a “lost, great Kiwanis” member.
The Gadsden Kiwanis Club got its start on June 13, 1919, when 15 men gathered in the office of Judge William. J. Boykin in the Stocks Building and accepted the invitation of Kiwanis International to organize the third Kiwanis Club in Alabama. The other two Kiwanis Clubs were located in Birmingham and Mobile.
On Wednesday, July 2, 1919, the first regular meeting of this group was held at the Printup Hotel. All prospective members were invited to attend. At the next meeting, 50 members had been approved. From there, regular meetings were held on each Wednesday. On December 10, 1919, the Gadsden club received its charter from Kiwanis International.
The first project that was taken on by the club was that of helping to organize Boy Scout Troops in Etowah County. At that time, the Boy Scout movement was getting started in this area.
The Kiwanis Club continues to support Gadsden through its many projects, including the annual American Flag Display program and the Gadsden Christmas Parade.