World's Largest Pancake Breakfast
Feel like enjoying breakfast "al fresco?" I so, there is a seat waiting for you at the World's Largest Pancake Breakfast held outdoors along Main Street in Springfield, several minutes in walking distance, from its sponsor MGM Springfield, on Saturday, May 11, beginning at 8am until the last pancake is served at 11am. You don't have to bring your credit card to pay for breakfast (they don't take credit cards anyway), since the price for enjoying a hearty breakfast is $3 for adults and $1 for children. "We invite everyone to join us at our breakfast table and become part of our amazing community for a day," aid Judith A. Matt, president of the Spirit of Springfield, organizers of the annual feel-good event.
Springfield Pancake Breakfast History
There is quite a history to the popular breakfast event, which was first held on May 27, 1976, to celebrate both out nation's historic Bicentennial and Springfield's 340th birthday. But, pancake lovers would have to wait another 10 years until 1986 for another, when Springfield once again threw a giant party, this time around to celebrate its 350th anniversary. The breakfast table stretched some 2,500 feet along Main Street. When the last mouth was fed, about 24,000 servings of hot, fluffy, butter-topped, syrup-drenched hotcakes were dished out at what now would become an annual nosh fest in downtown Springfield.
Word of Springfield's claim that they had served the "World's Largest Pancake Breakfast" somehow reached Battle Creek, Michigan, the unofficial "cereal capital of the world." The news didn't go over well in the breakfast city, where officials there were not about to go down without a fight, albeit a friendly one. For years they challenged Springfield at the breakfast table with emphasis eventually changing from its length to the number of mouths fed. However, in just short of a decade , Battle Creek lost their "snap, crackle and pop" and their milk began to spoil as they refuse to release their numbers.
"We may have pulled the plug on the competition, but not on our cherished breakfast feast and gathering, which is truly a celebration of the region. In hindsight, it's probably a good thing the competition ended, even though it put Springfield on the map. First and foremost the breakfast has always been about community spirit and bringing people together in downtown Springfield to catch up with old friends as warmer Spring days put an end to winter hibernation," Matt said. Don't look for any cereal at the breakfast (there never was anyway). It's pancakes, pancakes and more pancakes served alongside some crunchy bacon, all washed down with some body-building milk, orange juice and your morning cup of coffee. Matt said it takes a "colossal recipe" to feed the thousands of people who turn out each Spring to partake in the long time tradition.
THE RECIPE FOR THE BUTTERMILK PANCAKES
- 3,450 pounds buttermilk flour
- 800 pounds eggs
- 350 pounds butter
- 450 gallons of water
- Mix all ingredients. For best results, use 39 grills
- Top with 4,700 pounds of butter, 450 gallons of freshly brewed coffee, 700 gallons of juice and 700 gallons of milk.
But there is an even more important "recipe" for the monumental task of putting on such a major undertaking as the World's Largest Pancake Breakfast. "Could you imagine if it was just our four person office trying to do everything on our own. As I'm always fond of telling people, it literally takes an army of dedicated volunteers and community-minded corporate contributors to make the breakfast a reality. That's the other part of the recipe." Matt said. It all begins the day before the Saturday morning breakfast, when a section of Springfield's Main Street is closed down to set up the now 1,800-foot-long breakfast table.
Long before the sun begins to rise over the horizon, the moonlight helps to guide a literal army of volunteers as hundreds of gallons of pancake batter are delivered downtown for cooking. Then, thousands of gallons of milk and juice arrive in refrigerated trucks, which also keep the batter cool until needed. As breakfast time nears and the sun begins to shine, the first groups to arrive are those pouring the coffee, juice and milk. Cookers and servers soon follow around 6:30am. Ticket sellers get to sleep longer, reporting for duty at 7am before the first plate of hot-off-the-griddle pancakes is served at 8am. In addition to the delicious food, the breakfast also serves up some entertainment to further life your spirits on two entertainment stages, which over the years have hosted a variety of talents, including dancing, aerobics, martial arts and more.