What is Pancake Day? PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 19 January 2013 09:56

• Provided Pancake Day Board
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 more than 60 years now. It is still the only race of its kind on the planet.
On Shrove Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 11:55 a.m., the race goes on again, with the overall score standing at 36 wins for Liberal and 26 for Olney. In 1980 the score didn’t count, because a media truck blocked the finish line in Olney.
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.
Racers must still wear a head scarf and apron and the runner must flip her pancake at the starting signal, and again after crossing the finish line, to prove she still has her pancake.
Winning scores have traded back and forth between the two towns. Last year’s winner was Devon Byrne, 18, of Olney, who finished in 58.5 seconds. The world record time was set in 2009, when Liberal’s Tasha Gallegos won with a time of 57.5 seconds. 
The Pancake Day celebration will stretch over four days in Liberal, beginning Sat. Feb. 9 with pancake flipping, eating and cooking contests. For more information and a complete schedule, visit www.pancakeday.net or call 620-624-6423.
Why does the date of Pancake Day change each year?
Even folks who are quite familiar with the famous Liberal-Olney Pancake Race may sometimes wonder how the date is set each year. Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day — all four terms refer to the same day-- the day before the beginning of Lent.
Lent is the 40-day period of fasting and prayer before Easter Sunday. Since the date of Easter changes each year, so does the date for Shrove Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) can fall anywhere from early February to mid-March.
The “Shrove” in Shrove Tuesday also confuses some folks. What exactly is a shrove?
It’s not a thing, but a verb. The verb shrive (shrove, shriven) comes from the Old English verb scrifan, “to decree, decree after judgment, impose a penance upon (the penitent), hear the confession of,” according to the American Heritage Dictionary.
Shrove Tuesday is the day to reflect, to seek penance and get ready for Lent, and so we have the shriving service, the religious component of the holiday.

Pancake Day 2013 festivities schedule

                        
Saturday Merchandise Sale 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Feb. 9 Knights of Columbus Hall/ 323 N. Kansas Ave.   
Eating/Flipping Contests       register 8-9:30a.m. 10 a.m.
Hosted by Rine’s A.m.erican Freestyle Karate
Sponsor Mc Donalds                                                 
Knights of Columbus Hall            
2013 Recipe / Cooking Contest 11:30 a.m. 
Hosted by Rine’s A.m.erican Freestyle Karate       
Knights of Columbus Hall
Pancake Chase register 1 p.m. 2 p.m.  
Pancake Day Hall of Fame, 318 N. Lincoln
Sponsor Liberal Parks & Recreation 
                                                                                            
Christian Artist Showcase 7 p.m.
Featuring ….. Andrew Peterson
Sponsors, Pancake Day, 1st Southern Baptist, 
Liberal Ministerial Alliance
First Southern Baptist Church, 621 N. Western      
Sunday Miss Liberal Scholarship Pageant 2 p.m.
Feb. 10         Liberal High School Auditorium
                                     
Monday Dignitary Reception 5–7 p.m.                                        
Feb. 11         Baker Arts Center, 624 N. Pershing Ave.
                                      
Talent Show 7:30 p.m.
Noon Lions Club / Liberal High School Auditorium
Sponsor United Wireless
Tuesday Pancake Breakfast …………………………….….…............. 6 – 10 a.m.
Feb. 12         Noon Kiwanis – Seward County Activity Center       
Breakfast Progra.m. …………………………………............. 7:30 a.m. 
Pancake Day Board – Seward County Activity Center 
Youth Races ………………………………………….............. 10:30 a.m.
4th and Lincoln
Last Chance Race ……………………………...……............. 11:30 a.m. 
4th and Lincoln
Men’s Pacer Race ……………………………...…….............. 11:45 a.m. 
6th and Kansas
INTERNATIONAL RACE ……………………..….............. 11:55 a.m.
6th and Kansas
Shriving Service ……………………………….……................ 12:15 p.m.
Ministerial Alliance – First United Methodist Church
Live Video Conference ….…………………….………............ 1:30 p.m.
First United Methodist Church
Parade ………………………………………….……................. 3:00 p.m. 
Rotary Club – 11th and Kansas to Trail St. 

 
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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press.

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