The University Kiwanis Club has canceled the group’s traditional pancake festival for the last Saturday in January because of COVID-19, club President Mary Rhoads said.
The iconic fundraising event, held for 64 years, draws thousands annually to scarf up pancakes and sausage turned out by a host of cooks in Wichita Falls.
“We could not figure any way, given the number of people who come, to maintain social distancing, and since people would be eating, there would be the issue of no masks part of the time,” Rhoads said.
But group members are cooking up an alternative, DIY Pancakes and Sausage in the Park, for later in 2021 to be held in conjunction with the dedication for their new, inclusive playground, Rhoads said.
The club has not set a firm date yet for the do-it-yourself event at the playground for ages 2 to 5 to be built at the city-owned University Kiwanis Park on Southwest Parkway, Rhoads said.
Club members are looking at March 27, barring weather or other delays, she said.
“We plan to take orders online for the pancake mix and frozen sausage patties,” Rhoads said.
Then members will have a drive-through order pickup on playground dedication day, she said.
This will be the 65th straight year for the pancake festival, she said.
“We wanted to have something to keep the streak going without jeopardizing the public with a ‘super spreader’ event, Rhoads said.
She plans to release more details as they become available.
The club hosted an official groundbreaking for the new playground Wednesday with participation from city officials and members of the Work Services Corp. Board.
The WSC Board provided $50,000 for the construction of the playground, officials said.
The playground’s construction is to begin in January and will cost an estimated $200,000, Rhoads said.
The University Kiwanis Club is contributing $100,000 and still seeks to raise about $23,000 for the project, she said.
Trish Choate, enterprise watchdog reporter for the Times Record News, covers education, courts, breaking news, politics and more. Contact Trish with news tips at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her Twitter handle is @Trishapedia.