2021 Pancake Festival keeps a Northbrook community tradition alive
In 65 years of hosting the Pancake Festival in downtown Northbrook, organizers of the annual community event are fairly certain that people have never experienced anything like what's in store for this year. And that's all right with them.
As with so many other happenings of the past 12 months, the 2021 pancake breakfast will look vastly different from the ones that have taken place since 1956. But different can be good, especially when it means holding the event rather than canceling it, and donating funds to local groups in need, which has always been a primary goal of the event.
"We love serving breakfast to the folks in our community," said Dave Owen, chair of the Pancake Festival planning committee. "But at the same time, we love supporting groups right here in Northbrook and the surrounding communities with the funds that we raise. We knew we had to think differently if we were going to have a similar impact this time around."
Part of thinking differently was realizing that preparing food for a large indoor gathering was not the best option given the public health measures in effect to mitigate the pandemic.
Instead, people will be able to purchase kits to make and enjoy in the comfort of home: Kits include pancake mix, heat-and-serve sausages, syrup packets and a coffee filter pack. Each pancake breakfast kit is $20 and serves a family of four. People can go online to northbrookpancakefestival.com to preorder pancake breakfast kits, either regular or blueberry.
On the day of the event - Saturday, March 13, from 8 a.m. to noon - people can pull into the front driveway of Village Church, at the northwest corner of Church Street and Shermer Road, to pick up their online orders. Masked and gloved volunteers will be on hand to fulfill preorders and assist with any on-site orders.
Besides ordering breakfast for themselves, people can buy a meal for a staff member at Brandel Care Center assisted living facility. Owen said the planning committee is hopeful to partner with a local restaurant to cater the meals for these essential workers.
In addition to essential worker meals, donations can be directed to the Northfield Township Food Pantry and Erika's Lighthouse. Proceeds from all breakfast kit sales will go to these two nonprofits as well. In recent years, the event has supported a number of groups in the area: Hunger Free Northbrook, A Safe Place, PADS Lake County, Glenbrook North High School Grad Night and local Girl Scout and Boy Scout units.
"We know the pancake breakfast won't be the same as before," Owen said. "But we are glad to be able to continue this wonderful tradition, and we're excited for the community to rally with us and raise money for a good cause."