continued “There’s one year I’ll never forget because we had rain and a lot of wind, so we wrapped it up a little bit early - it was really blowing around,” McCarthy said. “Maybe 15 years ago, I was the manager of JC Penney at Shoppingtown, so I drove over on Sunday [the day after the event] and the tent was down – it blew over! We were fortunate that we got everything out on Saturday evening. And that’s the only time I remember the tent ever falling down.”
Fred Cholet is a 32-year member of the DeWitt Rotary Club and the former fire chief for the DeWitt Fire Department. He said he’ll never forget Pancake Day in 1980 – the year the event almost didn’t happen.
“Three Rotarians approached me and said, ‘Chief, we’ve got a big problem. Pancake Day is tomorrow and we don’t have any water.’ They had been using water from the veterinary hospital behind Shoppingtown Mall but were told they couldn’t use it that year, and they needed water to make the batter,” Cholet said.
It just so happened that the deputy fire chief worked full-time as a welder at Jamesville Quarry. He and Cholet drove to the quarry, where the deputy chief immediately went to work.
“He said he was looking for a brass connection piece,” Cholet said. “He found one and starting drilling and welding and then got another connection piece and made it the size of a garden hose.”
They drove back to the Shoppingtown Mall parking lot, and he put the connection piece onto a nearby fire hydrant and attached a garden hose. When they turned on the fire hydrant, a steady stream of water came through the hose.
“It worked without a hitch and we’ve been using it ever since,” Cholet said. “That’s how we make our batter. And we have a hot water heater too – we hook that up so we have hot water to wash our equipment off at the end of the day.”
Pancake Day 2014
This year’s Pancake Day will be held from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, in the Shoppingtown Mall parking lot. Pre-sale tickets may be purchased from a rotary member or online at dewittrotary.org/pancakeday for $5. Tickets at the door cost $7 and all proceeds support DeWitt Rotary’s service projects and other charities. For more information, visit dewittrotary.org.