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Lake Oswego Lions Club expects to feed 3,000 pancake lovers Friday at George Rogers Park

by: REVIEW FILE PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Sandi Swinford puts her remarkable talent for flipping pancakes to good use at last year's Lions Club Pancake Breakfast, which drew thousands of pancake fanatics.It was only a few weeks before the Lake Oswego Lions Club was scheduled to serve pancakes to thousands of people on the Fourth of July, and it seemed like organizers were, well, flipping out.

The club’s weekly meeting at the Oswego Heritage House was filled with unanswered questions about a process with many potential pitfalls. After all, who wants to end up with pancake flour on their face on Independence Day?

“Even if you have done this over and over,” said Denise Gordon, “there are always a lot of dangling ends to take care of.”

Not to worry.

The Lake Oswego Lions, assisted by their brother and sister Lions from other cities, will be out early Friday morning at George Rogers Park, ready for the endless line of pancake lovers who wouldn’t dream of missing this tradition.

Chefs will start flipping flapjacks at 7 a.m. and go until noon. Breakfast is $7 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under. Only cash will be accepted.

“We’re going to feed 3,000 people,” Gordon said, including one returning diner who is expected to attend his 53rd Lions Club pancake breakfast.

“We’re going to give him and his guests the royal treatment,” said Jan Scott, who ran the event for nearly 30 years before turning it over to Sally Ford.

“I basically ran the whole thing,” Scott said. “I guess it’s my contribution to the community. We’ve never had many problems, like running out of something. I’ve been very lucky.”

That’s due in no small part to the dedicated volunteers who staff the event.

“I believe this is an amazing group of people,” said Gordon.

“You are all just angels as far as I’m concerned,” said Ford, the club’s newly elected president.

“If we keep doing the same thing year after year, it tends to work,” said Kat Riley. “If you did something last year, do it again. If you brought something last year, bring it again.”

Riley has been the batter mixer for many years, using an electric driver drill to stir the massive amount of batter needed. For many years, she wore a jumpsuit, and by noontime she was totally spattered with pancake batter and looked like she had been mixing concrete all day. In recent years, she’s just worn an apron — it’s much more attractive, she said.

The task, of course, is monumental. Come Friday, the must-do list will include having 50 10-pound bags of Krusteaz pancake mix on hand, cleaning the grills, buying boxes and boxes of napkins and utensils, organizing the Boy Scouts who will serve as runners, getting the coffee ready by 2 a.m. and so on.

The Lions must be doing something right, though, because the lines they attract are awesome. “The neat thing is, they all wait,” Ford said. “There’s no fussing. They meet old friends. It’s a way for the community to get together.”

And the bottom line, says Ford: “They’re darn good pancakes!”

Any profits from the pancake fest are given to charity, but the LO Lions do have one ulterior motive: They very much want to attract new members, so that this 65-year tradition can live on.

After all, “these are patriotic pancakes,” Riley said, “for a hungry town.”

For more about the Lake Oswego Lions Club, go to e-clubhouse.org/sites/lakeoswegoor.

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