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Annual Pancake Day provides a place to catch up on Shrove Tuesday

By Staff | Mar 8, 2019

Donnie Haines, Gary Chicchirichi and Don Clendening enjoy pancakes as they have been doing for decades at Citizen's Fire Company's Annual Pancake Day. Toni Milbourne

CHARLES TOWN — Citizen’s Fire Company’s annual Pancake Day started with a large crowd heading in first-thing Tuesday morning to enjoy a delicious breakfast, but more than that, to enjoy the company of friends and neighbors.

The event, held each year on Shrove Tuesday, is the company’s largest fundraising event. The fire and rescue volunteers began serving pancakes, sausage, gravy and eggs at 6 a.m. and carried through until 7 p.m. They were joined by volunteers from within the community who helped flip pancakes, clear tables and empty trash.

According to company president Ron Fletcher, the event has been held for about 60 years.

“I’ve been here for the last 20 years,” he said, as he cracked eggs single-handed onto a hot griddle. Eggs, fried and scrambled, are part of the fare until around 11 a.m., when the lunchtime crowd starts to come to the station.

Fletcher said many of the volunteers showed up around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday to begin cooking sausage, gravy and prepare the hall for the onslaught of hungry visitors.

“We feed, on average, between 1,800 and 2,400 in any given year,” said member John Mills.

“So we’re looking at approximately 6,000-10,000 pancakes,” Fletcher added with a slight groan.

“I love the pancakes,” said Charles Town resident Jack Huyett, as he held his plate out to receive breakfast. “This is a fantastic place to come with great cooks.”

Others who have enjoyed the event year-after-year include 80-year-old Don Clendening.

“I bet I have been at every one of them,” Clendening said, as he gathered with friends to enjoy a meal.

Donnie Haines agreed, saying he remembered attending at the old station in Charles Town before the new location on Route 340 was built.

“You run into people you haven’t seen in years,” said Gary Chicchirichi, who has also been a longtime attendee at Pancake Day.

In past years, the fundraiser has gained a profit of over $10,000. The largest fundraiser for the volunteer company has the funds going into the general budget, according to Fletcher.

Regardless of the funds raised, the event is always a gathering place for old friends, who make their way around the room, visiting with friends they may only see once-a-year at this event.

“This is a real community affair,” Chicchirichi said.