Cynthia Woods of Gary gives a sip of milk to her 10-month-old granddaughter, Amari Cooper, during the Gary Frontiers Service Club's 57th annual Pancake Festival at the Baber Youth Center in Gary, Ind. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 7, 2012 4:14PM
Members of the Gary Frontiers Service Club recently flipped pancakes during their 57th annual Pancake Festival at the Baber Youth Center, 2005 E. Massachusetts St.
A steady line of customers kept cooks and coffee, syrup and butter distributors busy from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., while young volunteers waited tables and checked the needs of guests.
“I like helping others and making people smile,” volunteer Robert Long, 14, of Gary said during a brief break. “It is an honor to do this with the Gary Frontiers. To me, it’s not about what your spirit is, but how it is when you do for others.”
Oliver Gilliam, Gary Frontiers president, said the group normally feeds more than 1,000 people at the festival.
“You get pancakes and sausage, milk and/or coffee and good company for $3,” he said. “You can’t beat that.”
For another $3, diners could have a made-to-order omelet prepared by a professional chef or veteran cook.
“We have men and women Frontiers from all walks of life — doctors, lawyers, teachers and more — who put on the aprons, plastic gloves and get ready to prep the kitchen, cook and service the community,” Gilliam said. “This is the second-biggest event, next to our annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in January.”
Vernishia Payne of Gary enjoyed breakfast with her parents, Anna and Ernest Stanford.
“We’ve attended the Pancake Festival faithfully for 10 years,” Payne said. “The food is great, the club members are wonderful, and it’s a great way to spend time with family, friends and even strangers.”
U.S. Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-Merrillville, stopped by to show his support to the Gary Frontiers.
“They won’t let me near the kitchen or the griddles, and one of my first jobs was in food service,” he said with a laugh.