The overwhelming success of the historic, first-annual "Great Pancake Day Race" in Cherokee last February came as little surprise to us, once we detected the indomitable spirit of fun and camaraderie oozing throughout the community after the event was first announced.
The brainchild of the Adult Sunday School Class at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Cherokee, the event, historically observed in England for a few hundred years, is the tradition established for housewives to use the food ingredients that they would otherwise stop using during Lent on "Shrove Tuesday" and to use those ingredients to make pancakes for a community celebration on the Eve of Ash Wednesday.
This year's race is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 16, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.
The race includes women who wear a dress, an apron, and a head scarf, all carrying a pan with a pancake. At the start of the race, all runners must flip their pancake, then run the 415-yard course, winding through town and ending at the church where they must again flip their pancake to finish.
With many Cherokee area churches and their pastors last year embracing the race and sharing that wonderful spirit, more than 60 women ages 18-80 pre-registered for the Cherokee race, with more than 80 colorful runners/walkers taking off from the starting line last Shrove Tuesday in Downtown Cherokee.
After that, more than 300 people packed the Methodist Church (finish line) to eat pancakes and make free-will donations benefiting the two food pantries in town.
Chief organizer John Cook said they first anticipated raising as much as $500 for the pantries. However, when the last "batter" came to the plate and the free-will offerings were tabulated, more than $2,200 was realized!
And people wonder why so many of us prefer and revel in calling Cherokee "home."
What a wonderful event. What outstanding thinking outside the box. What great community togetherness it took to pull it all off. And, here it comes again!
And the best part? The unbridled joy filling all the hearts. Everyone there last year - not just the runners - but everyone involved and everyone simply watching, was smiling the most beautiful, genuine smile from start to finish.
Kinda like the one we're wearing now just thinking about this year's race.