FORT SCOTT, Kan. -- Early figures show that more than 1,000 people helped make the Fort Scott Kiwanis Club's 91st annual Pancake Feed a success.
Proceeds from the club's biggest fundraiser of the year benefit youth-related programs and organizations in the community. Organizers said changes made for this year's feed worked out for the better. About 1,200 tickets were sold for the popular community occasion.
Organizers served pre-cooked hotcakes to save time for themselves and patrons, and brought back some musical entertainment for guests.
"I think it worked out really well," Kiwanis President Robert Nelson said. "People seemed to be happy."
Nelson and other Kiwanians said the new serving method eliminated much preparation, cooking and clean-up time, as well as long lines. Organizers also had a problem last year with one of the gas grills that is normally used to prepare the flapjacks and that safety issue was not a concern this year.
Local resident Carolyn Tucker played Christmas music through the evening and choir students from Eugene Ware Elementary School, under the direction of Sandy Hemphill, serenaded guests with Christmas tunes at different times during the day.
Club Treasurer Phil Gorman said the financial goal for the fundraiser was $4,000 and he feels that figure will be met or exceeded, even after expenses are calculated. He didn't expect final numbers to be available for about a week.
"I'm confident we're going to make that," he said.
Kiwanian Ralph Carlson said 350 tickets had been sold by the end of the lunch period and a large dinner crowd was drawn Thursday evening.
"People had more time to sit in groups and talk and visit with each other," he said. "It eliminated a whole lot of clean-up."
Carlson added he hopes the public was pleased with the fundraiser and the Kiwanis Club welcomes feedback on any aspect of the feed.
"This was an experiment," he said of the new serving method. "We thought it would do well or we wouldn't have tried it."
Carlson said the addition of the musical entertainment attracted extra people who came to watch the youngsters sing and then stayed to enjoy a meal of pancakes, sausage and their choice of beverage.
"The crowds really responded to the music," he said. "The kids were having a great time."
Carlson said he would not be surprised if the club exceeded its monetary goal this year.
"I think we had more than last year," he said. "Everybody was really pleased with the product ... I think it was a better year than last year. It was really a treat to have the Eugene Ware kids come and sing for us. That was probably the high point of the day. We really appreciate her (Tucker's) efforts in making our day a success. Plus, the weather was agreeable."
A surprise activity occurred Thursday evening at the event when Kiwanian Scott Flater led a flash mob of guests singing "Jingle Bells," followed by instruments joining in on the tune.
"People jumped up and started singing," Carlson said.
Kiwanian Trevor Hinkle, who was busily making to-go orders in the kitchen with fellow club member Robert Hanson during a busy lunch period Thursday, said this was the first pancake feed he has been involved with.
"I thought it went pretty good ... People were not waiting around for very long," he said.
He said the method of serving pre-cooked pancakes "did help with lines" and "made it easier for everybody." Hanson agreed that the process eliminated much clean-up work.
"It's a great program; we help out kids," Hinkle said.
Hinkle said one person ordered 16 takeout meals during the lunch rush.
"That was our biggest (order)," he said.
About 1,200 people attended last year's fundraiser, and just under $4,000 was raised.