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Charly Haley, Published February 09 2013

‘Good time’ for all at Pancake Karnival

Fargo - Syrup, sausage and thousands of golden buttermilk pancakes were served Saturday in the Fargodome for the 55th annual Kiwanis Pancake Karnival.

“It’s been going very well, very smoothly,” said Greg Gorze, this year’s Karnival chairman.

A total of 9,823 people attended Saturday’s event. Longtime Fargo Kiwanis Club member Rick Stern said organizers were “a little disappointed” with the turnout, but he quickly added that “everybody had a good time” and the Games Galore activities were a “big hit” with the kids. About 700 volunteers worked throughout the day, Gorze said.

Many attending the Pancake Karnival commented on how much shorter the lines were this year.

“There was no waiting in line,” said Ruth Lau, 81 of Moorhead.

Lau was at the pancake feed with her two friends, Eileen Etterman and Judy Hansmann, both from Moorhead.

“I come here every year; I never miss it,” Hansmann said. “I come for the sausage, and the buckwheat pancakes are excellent.”

About 90 percent of the flapjacks served at the event are buttermilk, but the buckwheat pancakes are a favorite for some. Hansmann, Etterman and Lau all chose the buckwheat cakes Saturday.

Matt Hallquist, 43, said he also always looks forward to the buckwheat pancakes.

“It’s the only time of the year I can get them,” he said.

Hallquist was at the Karnival with his mother, Mary, and his 11-year-old son, Michael.

“He (Michael) just finished playing hockey, so he’s hungry,” Mary Hallquist said.

While his dad loves the buckwheat pancakes, Michael said he prefers the sausage.

The Hallquist family has been attending the pancake feed for 30 years, Mary Hallquist said.

She prefers the atmosphere of the Fargodome to the Civic Center, where the event used to be held.

“With these high ceilings it doesn’t smell like burners,” Mary Hallquist said. “In the Civic … it’d almost be hazy in there.”

While many attending the event have fond memories of Karnivals past, some were there for the first time. Lindsay Thiel, 27, of Fargo, was one of those first-time attendees.

“I was really surprised, with so many people, they kept all the food warm,” she said. “And the pancakes were amazing.”

Her husband, Ryan, said they will be back next year.

About 150 volunteers work at a time, Gorze said, except for the morning shifts when the volunteer count is closer to 250.

And Lau appreciated the service they provided.

“The people are very friendly and nice,” she said.

It took two days to get the Fargodome set up for the event, with the chairs and cooking equipment, Gorze said.

The $8 admission went to nonprofits supported by Kiwanis.

“I do love Kiwanis,” Etterman said. “It’s a fun group to support.”

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Charly Haley at (701) 235-7311