ELIZABETHTON — There will be an absence felt when the Elizabethton Kiwanis Club celebrates its 50th Pancake Day on Saturday at First United Methodist Church from 7:30 a.m. until noon.
Past presidents Mike Hill and Richard Barker gathered Thursday to talk about the history of the club’s tasty fundraiser.
“This is the first time we have had it without Don Tetrick,” Barker said. Tetrick was one of the longest-serving members of the local Kiwanis Chapter. Barker said Tetrick and another club member, Carter County Agricultural Extension Agent Larry Hight, got together in the spring of 1963 to start the tradition of selling pancakes to raise money for the club’s projects to help children.
Hill said the first couple of decades of the pancake days “were a major adventure to do every year.” They included a lot of work and also because they were held outdoors in downtown Elizabethton and there was uncertainty about the weather.
“You never knew what the weather was going to be like,” Hill said. “You never knew what the weather was going be like from morning to noon,” Barker said.
Tetrick always supplied tents from his funeral home. Club members had to assemble all the tables, cooking utensils and other supplies.
There were also the tasks of going to the City Council to get permission to hold the event downtown and to reroute traffic. There were also trips to the electric system and the water department for electricity and water for the cooking.
Eventually, the club elected to move the event from spring to early fall in order to have more predictable weather. Then, when Hill was serving as president in 1982-83, the club decided to move Pancake Day inside, to First United Methodist Church. It has been there ever since.
This will be the first Pancake Day without Tetrick, who died Aug. 26 at age 96.
A plate of pancakes with all the traditional trimmings is $5. Tickets are available at the door.
The funds raised from the meal are used to support many youth programs in the county. These include the Boys and Girls Club, 4-H programs, Head Start programs, the Key Club at Elizabethton High School, K/Kids programs in the city elementary schools and to help maintain the Kiwanis Park in the city and maintain park equipment at the city’s Douglas Park.
There is also a new project to establish a pavilion with concessions stands for the park. It will be named the Don Tetrick Pavilion.
Barker said in addition to the long service of Kiwanis members, he also wanted to thank the continued efforts of Dino’s Restaurant, which fries the sausage for the event and orders some of the supplies, and to Sycamore Shoals Hospital for ordering supplies and providing them to the club at cost.