Glorious Lodi Fourth
Pancake breakfast a holiday tradition
Every Fourth of July at Lodi Lake starts with the Kiwanis Club of Greater Lodi’s pancake breakfast, a 50-year-old tradition that pulls Lodians out of bed and down to the lake.
Kiwanis members and volunteers were at the lake at 4 a.m. Thursday to start brewing coffee, mixing batter, stoking the flames of the barbecue, and setting tables for the annual tradition, said Alan Freeman, the pancake breakfast’s chairman and the Lodi service club’s incoming president.
“Its something that people look forward to every year, and for 50 years we have been able to provide this to the community,” he said.
As skillets sizzled and grills smoked, people stood in line ready to start their holiday festivities with a hearty meal of pancakes and sausage.
“We have a secret pancake batter recipe that we use, and our one-of-a-kind sausage that comes from Lakewood Meats and Sausage,” Freeman said.
The pancake breakfast draws in a crowd of 3,500 to 4,000 people every year. Guests look forward to the breakfast because it brings the community together and allows people to unplug from their devices and engage with people around them, Freeman said.
“When you look at people here, none of them are looking at their phones or reaching for their pockets. It is just a relaxing morning where everyone can come together,” he said.
From 7 to 11 a.m., Kiwanis members flipped pancakes and turned sausage. Sister volunteers Ava and Maya Acevedo poured coffee and directed guests looking for places to sit.
“This is our first time volunteering for the pancake breakfast. I was a little nervous because of all the people, but it is actually not that bad because everything is very well organized,” Maya said.
The sisters learned about the pancake breakfast from Lodi High School’s Key Club, which works with the Kiwanis.
“Before this, we never really knew about the breakfast,” Ava said. “It is great to see everyone, though. Everybody looks so happy, and for a lot of people here, coming to the breakfast is a family.”
Donna Beckman and her husband Bill have attended the breakfast for 10 years, and look forward to the event year after year.
“We like to come out and support the Kiwanis, and it is such a well-organized event. They do it the same way every year and it is great,” Donna said.
Bob Galli, who attended Thursday’s pancake breakfast after he was introduced to it last year, said he enjoys seeing the people he knows.
“It is a family-oriented event that brings the community together,” Freeman said.
This year, World of Wonders Science Museum had a booth at the breakfast, with hands-on exhibits that taught kids how craters are formed.
“We are getting people informed about our newest exhibit, which is in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing,” WOW staff member Grace Kuehne said.
In addition to the pancake breakfast on Wednesday morning, hundreds of Lodians came out to spend a leisurely day at the lake before the fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. The Lodi Lake beach was open for swimming until 6 p.m., and kayaks and pedal boats were available for rent.
This year, the fireworks show had 40% more fireworks shells. The city also purchased larger fireworks, which had a higher airborne trajectory, and fireworks with water features.
Above and below: Fireworks light up the night Thursday at Lodi Lake.