Flip, flip, hooray: Kiwanis Club of La Jolla prepares to resume pancake breakfast

The Kiwanis Club of La Jolla pancake breakfast, shown in 2019, returns to the La Jolla Recreation Center on Sept. 18.
The Kiwanis Club of La Jolla pancake breakfast, pictured in 2019, will return to the La Jolla Recreation Center on Saturday, Sept. 18.
(Courtesy of Kiwanis Club of La Jolla)

The Kiwanis Club of La Jolla will dust off its spatulas and fire up its griddles for its annual pancake breakfast on Saturday, Sept. 18, flipping its servings onto the plates of La Jolla families for the 57th year.

“Who doesn’t like pancakes?” said Kiwanis member Craig Gagliardi, chairman of this year’s breakfast.

The event will be held from 7:30 to 11 a.m. outdoors at the La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St. Tickets are $15; children 10 and younger get in free with a paid adult.

Tickets include unlimited pancakes and sausage, along with orange juice, coffee and water. There also will be a disc jockey, an inflatable play structure and pony rides.

Additionally, guests can purchase tickets for raffle prizes and bid on auction items such as a two-night stay at the Inn by the Sea at La Jolla, gift cards for dental services and botox at local clinics, and a lunch with San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore.

As part of the event, the Kiwanis Club also will hold a blood drive from 8 to 11 a.m. with the San Diego Blood Bank. No appointment is necessary. Donors must be 17 or older, in good health and at least 114 pounds. Photo identification is required.

Funds raised from the event will benefit the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla’s grants to local organizations such as La Jolla High School and the San Diego Humane Society. The La Jolla chapter is “one of the biggest [Kiwanis clubs] in the world as far as raising money,” Gagliardi said.

The Kiwanis Club of La Jolla pancake breakfast will include all-you-can-eat pancakes and sausages.
The Kiwanis Club of La Jolla pancake breakfast will include all-you-can-eat pancakes and sausages, along with juice, coffee, water and activities, for $15.
(Courtesy of Kiwanis Club of La Jolla)

The pancake breakfast is not merely a fundraiser, however, Gagliardi said. “It’s more of community event. It’s been our tradition for 57 years in La Jolla.”

He said the volunteer-run affair is even more of a celebration this year, having been canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pushed from July to September for 2021.

“Our whole mission at Kiwanis is community,” Gagliardi said. “It’s just fun ... people eat pancakes, you sit down. … It’s a hoot.”

He said he remembers going to similar events while growing up in Los Angeles.

Gagliardi said he has manned the pancake station the past couple of times in La Jolla, creating shapes from the batter and adding fruit or other toppings. “The kids love it.”

“It doesn’t get much better — all-you-can-eat pancakes outside in La Jolla,” he said. “It’s been so long that we’ve had these things. And now people, probably more so than ever, really appreciate community togetherness and connecting. So if we can do that and make a bunch of people happy and have some pancakes, then we’ve done our job.”

Tickets for the pancake breakfast may be purchased at the Rec Center gate the day of the event or by contacting Gagliardi at (619) 813-9557 or