High Country Auxiliary’s pancake breakfast draws record crowd

Best attendance ever

By Lynn Volkens

At best and final count, 566 people gobbled up scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, juice, coffee and milk at the High Country Auxiliary’s annual Pancake Breakfast, Sunday morning at the Gilpin County Fair. It was a record attendance for the organization, an all-volunteer group that raises funds to provide on-scene food for emergency responders such as the Timberline Fire Protection District and Gilpin County Animal Response Team.

It takes 40 volunteers over three days to prepare and pull-off the community breakfast. On the day of the event, Auxiliary members and Timberline firefighters arrived at 6:00 a.m. to set up grills and cookers, beverage dispensers, a condiment station, a tray washing tent, chairs and dining tables, complete with cheery yellow tablecloths. Then they donned their plastic gloves, their caps (and at least one chef’s hat) and started cooking, and they kept cooking; frying 24 gallons of scrambled eggs, turning 50 pounds of sausage links and flipping the hundreds of flapjacks made from 110 pounds of pancake mix (to be topped with four gallons of syrup).  Auxiliary members kept the beverages coming: 24 gallons of coffee (donated by the Lodge Casino) and 15 gallons of fruit juice. Robinson’s Dairy donated all of the little cartons of milk. Later, at about 10:50 a.m., ten minutes before the breakfast was scheduled to end, they ran out of eggs and sausage. What pancake batter was left, firefighters continued pouring on the griddle, offering the last batch of pancakes free to several youths who made short work of the leftovers.

“Well, I’d rather have bought too much and have some left over, than run out,” said Auxiliary president, Roxie Morris. In past years, the leftover eggs and sausage have come in mighty handy, cooked up in an assembly line process and made into breakfast burritos, frozen and ready to serve to hungry emergency responders later. Mostly, running out of food means that some customers were disappointed, and none of the Auxiliary members ever want that.

Come September, the group will sit down and re-cap the Pancake Breakfast, evaluate what worked and what didn’t with the set-up, preparations, tear-down, etc. They’ll note the phenomenal success of the 2013 Pancake Breakfast, and do their best to estimate how much food to prepare for a repeat performance at the 2014 Pancake Breakfast. It’s an event that the entire fair-going community looks forward to and supports. Some of the vendors and other booth operators commented that Sunday was much busier than Saturday, and credited High Country Auxiliary’s Pancake Breakfast for drawing more over-all attendance at the fair. It just wouldn’t be the Gilpin County Fair without the High Country Auxiliary’s Pancake Breakfast.

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