Pancakes by any other name — flapjacks, johnny cakes, crepes (in France), cakes, hotcakes and even griddle cakes — might have the power to fill the emptiest stomach, but when the Rotary Club of Sun Prairie makes them, they have an even stronger power: the ability to raise money.
The Rotary Club of Sun Prairie will present its 60th annual Pancake Feast and Craft Show from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (the craft show goes until 1 p.m.) at Prairie View Middle School, located at 400 N. Thompson Road.
Aaron Oppenheimer, who is also Sun Prairie’s city administrator, has been tasked with chairing the fundraiser this year, and there’s a lot going on.
First, there’s the menu: all-you-can-eat pancakes with special toppings that include sprinkles and strawberries, sausage, potatoes, applesauce, juice, milk and coffee from Beans ’n Cream. “We appreciate that — the Gauger family has been fantastic to work with both for Rotary, but also many other events like the Library Gala as well,” Oppenheimer said, referring to the owners of Beans ’n Cream.
Back to the toppings for a second. If applesauce (the traditional topping for Rotary pancakes besides butter and syrup) isn’t your thing, you can top them with whipped cream, strawberries, sprinkles and even chocolate chips.
Second, there’s the way the pancakes are made. For those new to the event, they should know the Rotary owns its own rotating, gas-powered griddle known as Louie’s Blazer because it was named for its inventor, Louis Blaeser, a longtime Rotarian who often made up songs about Rotary.
“And then there’s a second [pancake griddle] that we’ve been working on over a number of years. And so, it’ll be there. We’ll be demoing it, but we won’t actually be cooking pancakes on it. We’re trying to adjust the burners and the right heat level because our original blazer was made out of aluminum. This new one is made out of steel. So the burners have to be different,” Oppenheimer explained.
Third is the craft show. “It’s been well received,” Oppenheimer said, referring to the craft show which was added just a few years ago. “We have inquiries throughout the year — ‘when is the pancake breakfast going to be and how do we sign up?’ And so we do have a handful of spots available, but it does quickly fill up.”
Last, but not least, is the money generated by both the craft show and the pancake feast. Diners will notice sponsors not only on the table tents, which are signs on each table in the cafetorium where the feast is served, but also on placemats used for the feast, with all money going to the Sun Prairie Rotary Foundation.
“So we have the club and we have the foundation. The foundation is our 501©(3) and it provides funding for a number of different things throughout the year, such as the kindness retreats. We do a number of scholarships, the Patrick Marsh wildlife area — a number of different projects where we provide funding,” Oppenheimer said.
The Rotary Foundation is also selling $20 Cash Raffle tickets for its St. Patrick’s Day raffle to be held on March 17 at Full Mile Beer Company & Kitchen, located at 132 Market St. The top prize is $2,000 with a $500 second prize, a $300 third prize and a $200 fourth prize.
One example of a Rotary Foundation sponsored item occurred at the new McKenzie Family Boys and Girls Club in Sun Prairie. “We sponsored a room in the Boys and Girls Club — the mindfulness room — and the monies that we use to pay for that are from the Rotary Foundation, which is through our fundraisers,” Oppenheimer said, “both our Pancake Feast and our Golf Outing.”
Tickets, which are available for sale at the door, cost $7 per adult, $6 for kids ages 5 and older, and kids younger than age 5 eating free. Learn more about the Rotary Club of Sun Prairie at sunprairierotary.org.