SYKESVILLE — The Sykesville Lions Club was gearing up for its 57th-annual Pancake Fry Tuesday. The fry will start Friday, and run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets to the event, which is held at Town Hall in Sykesville, are available in advance and at the door. Customers receive a breakfast of pancakes and sausage, and the crowd of many hunters readying for deer season exchange outdoor stories over coffee.
Lions Club member Fred Torretti, who has been taking part in the Pancake Fry for 50 years, expects the club to serve about 2,000 people this year over the three days in what is one of the largest fund-raisers for the club. Funds help under-privileged residents afford eye-care, and the club donates money to various local organizations.
To serve the anticipated 2,000 people, club member Don Zimmerman said 500 pounds of sausage, 180 pounds of pancake mix and 80 gallons of coffee will be needed.
“That’s down from 3,000 pounds of sausage,” Torretti said, recalling the early days of the Pancake Fry when the Lions Club served customers continuously from Friday morning until Monday morning.
“It was very hectic, all together different than now,” he said. “That was before Interstate 80. Today, the traffic through town was not nearly what it once was.”
Torretti said the fry routinely saw 7,000 or more people come to the Pancake Fry. Despite the declining number of people purchasing tickets, the event still accomplishes the goal of raising money for the area.
“It’s a community project,” Torretti said. “All of the profits go back into the community. The town park, the baseball fields, the Little League teams, the Christmas lights (all benefit from the money raised); I could go on and on. Even this Town Hall was built using proceeds from the Pancake Fry.”
He explained that the Sykesville Town Hall is owned by the Civic Improvement Club, which is a branch of the Lions Club. Ten percent of the proceeds earned will be allocated to Town Hall maintenance and improvements.
The Town Hall is one piece of evidence that shows the benefits of the Lions Club to the Borough of Sykesville. Those benefits are the reason Torretti and other Lions Club members have spent the Friday, Saturday and Sunday following Thanksgiving serving residents and visitors breakfast foods for the past 57 years.
“You have to become community minded and help the less fortunate,” Torretti said.
Of course, the event also provides social opportunities to residents and outdoorsmen as they await the Monday start of rifle deer season.
“We’ve had people stop in from the Pittsburgh area that have been to every one,” Torretti said. “They always tell us how much they appreciate and enjoy this. It gives people a chance to sit and talk about hunting. There are a lot of good outdoor stories.”
For any area resident that has never taken part in the Pancake Fry, Torretti said, “They don’t know what they’re missing. There is some good food and friendly hospitality and good outdoor hunting experiences by other hunters.”
A 50/50 drawing and other activities will be held.