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Annual Kiwanis flapjack fest is homegrown

There are a lot of things that are special about the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla’s 44th annual pancake breakfast to be held from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 28 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.

Not the least of which is the event’s homespun quality.

“It’s really a community service,” said La Jolla Kiwanis President John Drummond, of the event which offers an all-you-can-eat breakfast of pancakes, sausage, coffee and juice. “We’re just trying to create a nice, friendly community atmosphere where everyone can come and have a good time, listen to some good music, have some good pancakes and enjoy San Diego’s summer Saturday.”

“It’s kind of a big family get-together,” noted fellow La Jolla Kiwanian Michael Turbitt, who is involved in fetching and setting up the four grills used to cook the flap jacks every year. “The La Jolla community is the main focus.”

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Several hundred residents will attend the annual event, hosted in conjunction with the La Jolla Parks and Recreation’s Center’s “Celebrating the Family Month” event.

Live entertainment will highlight the pancake breakfast, the theme of which this year is “Padres near Wind N’ Sea.”

Pancake breakfast chair Trenton Bonner talked about what’s in store for guests at this year’s gala breakfast. “There will be a jump, pony rides, face painting and balloons for kids,” said Bonner, adding youth under age 10 will be admitted free. “The theme this year is the beach, and all the tables will be decorated in white and blue with sea shell arrangements that can be purchased.”

Headlining this year’s entertainment will be the Torrey Pines Ramblers jazz band. Another event highlight will be prize giveaways every 45 minutes during the four-hour event. “There will be dinners for two to major restaurants,” said Bonner, “and hotel accommodations for two at some of the major hotels.”

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This is the second consecutive year Bonner has chaired the homegrown event. Under his stewardship, the event has grown in popularity. Last year, the amount of money raised at the pancake fund-raiser topped $10,000, about double what it had done in previous years. Much of that gain resulted from a ramped-up effort by Kiwanians to solicit donations from local businesses. La Jolla Kiwanians have been actively seeking donations this year throughout Bird Rock, the downtown Village and La Jolla Shores.

Staging the annual pancake breakfast is a monumental undertaking requiring some 120 gallons of orange juice, 400 pounds of pancake batter, 250 pounds of sausage, 24 gallons of syrup and 60 pounds of blueberries.

Kiwanians note breakfast patrons can have flap jacks their way. If someone is willing to bring a special ingredient, club members will be more than happy to put them in a pancake. Odd combinations have been used in the past, like peanut butter, and even beer. Blueberry chocolate makes an exotic mix which can be pretty messy. Strawberries work pretty well.

Longtime La Jolla Kiwanian Byron “By” Webb is responsible for originating the event as a fund-raiser. He talked about how it all got started. “I was on the board of our local YMCA back in the ‘60s,” said Webb, “and we needed some landscaping for the new Y which had just been built. I was also on Kiwanis and I proposed having a pancake day to raise money to do the landscaping. It was successful.”

The first Kiwanis pancake breakfast was held on Girard Avenue in a bank parking lot across from the old Cove theater, which is now Ligne Roset furniture.

Bonner and Turbitt will transport grills and other equipment needed for the pancake breakfast in a flatbed truck from a Sorrento Valley storage site to the La Jolla Rec Center the night before the event. Classic Party Rentals will bring 50 tables and 400 chairs to accommodate attendees. A local Boy Scout Troop will camp out on site the night before the breakfast to keep a watchful eye on the equipment. Kiwanis volunteers are on site at 6 a.m. the day of the event to get everything ready for hungry La Jollans.

Event cost is $8 for adults. Kids under age 10 are admitted free.

La Jolla Kiwanis Club annually raises $85,000 to $100,000 for the La Jolla and San Diego communities through events such as the La Jolla Half Marathon held in April, a concession stand at the La Jolla Roughwater Swim in September and a club-sponsored Junior Olympics in May.

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More than 50 charitable organizations such as Children’s Hospital Foundation, Meals on Wheels, The Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, Friends of the Poor, the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation, the YMCA and the Friends of the Poor benefit from donations from La Jolla Kiwanis Club each year.