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Batter up: Kiwanis Club of La Jolla’s 58th pancake breakfast is set for Aug. 20

Kiwanis Club of La Jolla member Don Hodges staffs the griddle during the club's pancake breakfast in 2021.
Kiwanis Club of La Jolla member and past president Don Hodges staffs the griddle during the club’s pancake breakfast in 2021. This year’s event will be Saturday, Aug. 20, at the La Jolla Recreation Center.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Members of the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla are warming up their griddles and ironing their blue aprons, hoping this year’s pancake breakfast stacks up against previous ones.

The club’s 58th annual breakfast on Saturday, Aug. 20, at the La Jolla Recreation Center will follow the same format as in the past, said Alexia ElWardani, club vice president and event co-chair.

Admission includes 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.

And, as in years past, guests can buy tickets for raffle prizes and bid on auction items donated by local businesses — from stays at the Grande Colonial hotel and the Inn by the Sea to restaurant certificates and a tour of the Map & Atlas Museum of La Jolla.

ElWardani said the prizes have a total value of around $10,000.

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 broader nonprofits like The Salvation Army.

There again will be a concurrent blood drive in partnership with the La Jolla-based National Charity League Seaside Chapter. Donors must be 17 or older, in good health and at least 114 pounds. Photo identification is required; appointments are recommended. Learn more at bit.ly/KiwanisNCLblooddrive.

The Kiwanis Club of La Jolla is “a dedicated group of volunteers looking to make an impact on their community and people’s lives,” said event co-chair and club President Craig Gagliardi. He noted that pancake breakfasts are presented by Kiwanis clubs nationwide.

“We’re doing our share of it in La Jolla. It’s kind of cool,” he said. “We start making the batter at 6:30 in the morning.”

“It’s always been such a joy for all these generations of La Jollans and for new people coming, too. It’s a family picnic.”

— Alexia ElWardani, pancake breakfast co-chair

ElWardani said about 700 people attended last year’s breakfast, fewer than the usual 800 to 1,000. She attributed the drop to the COVID-19 pandemic and said she expects this year’s number to be closer to 1,000.

ElWardani said the wonder of the event is that people who attended as children still attend decades later.

“It’s always been such a joy for all these generations of La Jollans and for new people coming, too,” she said. “It’s a family picnic.”

The roughly 50-member club holds other annual La Jolla events, including the La Jolla Cove Swim, Concerts by the Sea, Junior Olympics and Half Marathon.

“Kiwanis is really rad,” Gagliardi said. “I’m not aware of anybody that puts out as much into the community to try to build community support.”

ElWardani said the club is “always looking for selfless, wonderful members. We just want to keep it going.”

Kiwanis Club of La Jolla pancake breakfast

When: 7:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 20. Blood drive from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St. Blood drive curbside along Draper Avenue.

Cost: $15 for the breakfast; children 10 and younger get in free with a paid adult