DeWitt Just like the flowers blooming or the bees buzzing, the DeWitt Rotary Club’s annual Pancake Day is a sure sign that spring has arrived in Central New York.
The seven-hour-long breakfast/lunch/brunch occasion isn’t just DeWitt Rotary’s biggest fundraiser of the year; it’s also blossomed into one of DeWitt’s biggest community events.
“My favorite thing is the camaraderie that goes along with the event,” said eight-year DeWitt Rotarian Mark Strodel, who is on the Pancake Day committee and serves as public relations chairman for the organization. “You see a lot of the same people there every year. Grandparents who went to this, parents that went to this and now kids are going to this. That, combined with the feeling you get that maybe you’re helping to make a little bit of a positive difference in the community.”
The event, which began humbly in the basement of the DeWitt Community Church in 1954, has grown to attract more than 4,000 people during the last couple years from all across Central New York. In the last three years, the DeWitt Rotarians have raised about $100,000 for local and international charities, including; The Jim & Juli Boeheim Foundation, Monarch Industries, the Samaritan Center, the Rotary Polio Project, The Salvation Army, On Point for College, Jamesville- DeWitt school programs, Rotary Youth Exchange, The Rotary Foundation, Boy and Girl Scouts and more.
Of the estimated 80 DeWitt Rotary Club members, nearly all of them contribute to Pancake Day in some way, according to Strodel. Whether it be through selling tickets, selling advertisements in the club’s yearly Flapjack Review newspaper, making a donation or physically working the event, Pancake Day is something that all DeWitt Rotarians get excited about.
“There’s a history here, it goes back 60 years. So it’s ingrained – people knows that when they get involved with DeWitt Rotary that the fundraiser, so to speak, the driving force that helps us support all of these groups in the area is Pancake Day,” Strodel said. “We really get into it.”