Community celebrates Pancake Day


Reece Hay

CNA, Alexia Torres, participated in the Pancake flipping challenge. It’s tradition to see who can flip it the most times. Local schools even have these competitions during the week.

Seward County Community College student, Maria Briggs, wears a red apron and holds her skillet proudly. Briggs finishes the International Pancake Day race with a smile on her face. (Reece Hay)

Races, pancake eating contests, and parades; these are just a few of the numerous activities that went on in the community yesterday in Liberal. With no school going on, a lot of commuting or students not from here might ask what Pancake Day actually is. Well, the long history of International Pancake Day dates back all the way to 1445! 

During 1445, International Pancake Day came about when a woman in England was running late to a religious service. This woman was said to have ran 415 yards with the pancake and skillet still at the ready. From then on this running of the skillet became a tradition that was then adopted by Liberal when its then current president R.J Leete at the time contacted England’s Vicar to a friendly competition. From then on every year Liberal and Ongley, England have gone head to head each year (with special exceptions) to have multiple races and other festivities. 

Some of Liberal’s most exciting events start early in the morning. For example, starting at 6:00 am, the public is able to attend the “Pancake Breakfast.” given at the Seward County Activity Center. From then on other activities follow such as the Breakfast Program hosted by the Pancake Day Board, eating and flipping contests, and then races. 

This year Seward County Community College had a wide array of representatives competing in various challenges and races such as the Men’s Pacer Race. Head Women’s Basketball Coach Todd Ciochetto, Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach Will Marchino, Chief Development officer Kyle Woodrow, Director of athletics  Dan Artmenko, and President Brad Bennett were all competitors in this year’s race. While most of these men representing SCCC mentioned it was their first time attending or competing in the race, Woodrow mentioned that he grew up a Liberal native learning and celebrating International Pancake Day. 

SCCC president Brad Bennett crosses the finish line during the men’s pacer race. This is the first time Bennet has competed in the race, and he was very excited to participate. (Reece Hay)

“Although this is my first time competing in anything related to Pancake Day, as a kid I would do the school events or do the whole breakfast bit,” added Woodrow when talking about the exciting things that go on during the festivities. 

Meanwhile, some of the other competitors such as President Bennett talked about how excited he was to be competing and how happy he was to have his family here to join in the celebration. 

“I am very excited to see what the festivities are about so are my little girls [excited] to watch me run and see what the celebration entails … hopefully I can get them up early enough to go eat breakfast before the races!” said President Bennett.

Will Marchino, Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach, finishes the race out strong in the men’s pacer race yesterday. To prepare for the race Marchino ate a salad. (Reece Hay)

While some competitors have grown up knowing about the Pancake Day traditions and celebration activities, competitors like both coaches Ciochetto and Marchino mentioned that they learned about the celebration when they first moved to Liberal.

“I didn’t really get the full experience last year [due to COVID-19] and this year with so many of us competing there’s definitely been talk,” Marchino laughed and added, “But I mean, I’m eating a salad right now, both physically and mentally preparing because I know if I lose I could be hearing about it for the next couple days, weeks, even months!” 

Another popular festivity is the mascot race. This year, representing the college student Gunnar Geist, a Liberal native had the pleasure of running as the Louie Saint. Meanwhile SCCC’s Assistant director of athletics Kenny Hernandez ran as the Chamber duck. 

“I’m confident I’ll do okay in the race … I’m always up for a little friendly competition,” mentioned Geist when asked about his feelings going into the race. 

The main Pancake Day race however consists of women running the 415 yards. This year, reclaiming her crown, Whitney Hay won for the second year in a row! 

International Pancake Day is a celebration enjoyed by many people in the Liberal community, with tons of things to do it makes for a great day. 

It’s a great way to represent the school and have a great friendly competition within the college, community, and overall with England.