Glo­ri­ous Lodi Fourth

Pan­cake break­fast a hol­i­day tradition

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Oula Miq­bel NEWS-SENTINEL STAFF WRITER

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.

NEWS-SENTINEL PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY BEA AHBECK

Above and be­low: Fire­works light up the night Thurs­day at Lodi Lake.

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