Monday, December 12, 2011

Pancake Hub of The Universe - Liberal, Kansas

Pancake Hub of The Universe - Liberal, Kansas by What Makes The Pie Shops Tick?

Two attractive housewives of Liberal, Kansas, "Pancake Hub of the Universe" prepare to run the 415 yard course which starts at the well and ends at a church which is the similar course run by the women of Olney, England. Each year on Shrove Tuesday, the women of these two cities race, via stopwatch, in an International contest.


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I am not really sure where this photo was taken in Liberal. The view above is from the starting point of the Pancake Day race.

Liberal is still going strong. They don't claim to be the "Pancake Hub of the Universe" but they do still have Pancake Day and the race against Olney, England. Thanks to the International Pancake Day website for the following history:

Many people are familiar with Mardi gras celebrations on the day before Lent. But in Liberal, Kansas, the day before Lent means just one thing – it’s Pancake Day.

The friendly little competition between Liberal, Kansas, and Olney, England, with women running down the streets of each town flipping pancakes, has been going on for more than 60 years now. It is still the only race of its kind on the planet.

It all started in 1950 from a magazine picture of the Olney women racing each other to the church. Liberal Jaycee President R.J. Leete contacted the Rev. Ronald Collins, Vicar of St. Peter and St. Paul's church in Olney, challenging their women to race against women of Liberal.

In Olney, the Pancake Race tradition dates back more than 500 years to 1445. A woman engrossed in using up cooking fats (forbidden during Lent) was making pancakes. Hearing the church bells ring calling everyone to the shriving service, she grabbed her head scarf (required in church) and ran to the church, skillet and pancake in hand and still apron-clad. In following years, neighbors got into the act and it became a race to see who could reach the church first and collect a "Kiss of Peace" from the verger (bell-ringer.) The kiss is still the traditional prize in both races.

A few photos of some pancakes and the Pancake Day Museum from World's Largest Things:

World's Largest Pancakes

International Pancake Race Museum

Highlights from the 2011 race from both Olney and Liberal:

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