Elizabethton Kiwanis Club celebrates 60th Anniversary of pancake breakfast

Published 9:04 am Friday, October 27, 2023

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Editorial Director
It’s that time of year again.
The 60th Annual Kiwanis Pancake Day will be held Saturday, Nov. 4, from 7 to 10:30 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Elizabethton. The church is located at the corner of East E and Elm Streets.
Richard Barker, Kiwanian, who has been involved with the pancake breakfast since 1963, said the club has only missed a couple of years having the breakfast, and that was during the COVID pandemic. “Although many of our old-timers have either died or are unable to participate, our club membership is back up to 30,” said Barker.
This is not only a popular event for people who enjoy eating a pancake breakfast in the company of friends, it is also the biggest fundraiser the Elizabethton Kiwanis Club conducts to support its various programs to support the children of Carter County. The club is a major sponsor of the Carter County Head Start, the 4-H program in Carter County, and the Special Education Picnic, held annually at Cat Island Park.
The Kiwanis Club also sponsors K-Kids at West Side, East Side, Harold McCormick, and Hunter School and Key Clubs at Elizabethton High, Unaka High, and Happy Valley High School. The club also sponsors a Builders Club for sixth, seventh and eighth graders at T. A. Dugger Junior High School.
Barker said the TAD Builders Club members will help bus tables at this year’s pancake breakfast.
In addition to school club sponsorships, the Kiwanis Club helps with the upkeep and purchase of playground equipment at Douglas Community Park and the Kiwanis Park, and contributes to the Boys and Girls Club.
In addition to pancakes and sausage, Barker said the meal includes coffee, milk, and orange juice. Tickets are $10 each and will be sold at the door.
Barker said the pancake breakfast tradition began with Leroy Hite, who worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority and later with the 4-H Clubs in Carter County. “He bought the idea for the breakfast from the Knoxville Kiwanis Club, where he was a member. Member Don Tetrick ran with the idea and became the prime mover of pancakes for 45 years. We have had some dedicated workers in the club,” said Barker, who along with Mike Hill are the longest-tenured members of the club. “We have a lot of new members in the club, and for that we are thankful,” Barker shared.
The event also holds a lot of significance for Batker who has been working the breakfasts since he was still in high school, helping his dad, Sam Barker. Back in those days, the Pancake Day took place outdoors in funeral tents erected on what is now Armed Forces Drive. Throughout the years the breakfasts have pretty much stayed the same, except it moved indoors at First United Methodist Church in 1982.
“The community has really supported us through the year. For some, the pancake breakfast is a tradition, and we look forward to seeing them each year,” Barker said.
Carry-outs are also available.

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