With the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival fast approaching, Drew McGovern and his daughter Jennie were thinking about other things they could do to share the maple love with the community.
The McGoverns thought it would be a good idea to share the joy of pancakes with school kids in the neighbourhood.
“What kid doesn’t like pancakes?” said Drew.
He said that the festival committee still had maple syrup left over from past maple syrup contests, where contestants were asked to donate a gallon of maple syrup to enter the competition.
The pancake lunches are mainly funded by the school councils at each school, and Drew says the festival committee donated three gallons to the schools to help them provide the pancakes, as well as the big grills they use to make pancakes at the festival.
Parents and grandparents of the students will be making and serving the pancakes along with Flapjack, the festival’s mascot, who will be on hand.
Schools participating include Elmira’s Riverside Public School, John Mahood and Park Manor. Every school kid at these schools will receive a pancake lunch.
“Our intention is just to make sure every kid in Elmira knows about the festival on Saturday (April 1) and to bug their parents to go,” Drew said.
He said Elmira has a lot of new people now, and the council wants to make sure everyone knows about the festival and is included.
“With the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival returning to an in-person event for the first time in three years, my dad and I were discussing ways to connect the festival and the younger generation of our community. We thought about our local schools. We wanted students in schools to have an opportunity to learn about the festival, meet Flapjack and enjoy some pancakes and maple syrup,” said Jennie.
“For those students in the community who do not have an opportunity to go to the festival, it is a way of bringing a small part of the festival to them.”
The pancake lunches will take place in the week leading up to the EMSF, March 27 to 31.
Jennie said more than a thousand kids will be served pancakes, along with school staff members. “We are planning on making two pancakes per student, so over 2,000 pancakes will be made,” she said.
She estimates they’ll use about 15 gallons of locally made syrup for the lunches, noting parents from each school have stepped up to help with the organization.
“We have had a really positive response from parents, staff and students. We had so many restrictions within school settings during the past few years due to Covid, so it is really wonderful to have the opportunity to gather, as a school, and celebrate the arrival of spring with some yummy pancakes. It also brings an awareness to students of the incredible festival that is happening within their own community in the days following.
“The school pancake lunch celebrations are just one of many ways we are working collectively to promote the return of the [in-person] festival.”