"All the pancakes you can eat for $5" is the word around Lehigh Acres this week for Saturday's Pancake Breakfast to be held at the Frank E. Lyons Hall just behind the SunTrust Bank, which is located on Homestead Road. The hall is on Ashlar Avenue and the Lehigh Acres Shrine Club along with members of the Lehigh Acres Masonic Lodge No. 344 will serve all you can eat hot pancakes with sausage, coffee, tea, orange juice and this year, they're going to start serving biscuits and sausage gravy (while they last) to those who don't want pancakes.
"You can't beat that," said Paul Goehle, master of the Masonic Lodge this year, who is one of the many helpers.
"We've probably got 15 or so people helping us from both lodges," Goehle said.
WILLIAM HORACIO JR.
A photograph last year of crowds of people who showed up at 7 a.m. on Parade Day in Lehigh to eat all the pancakes they could for $5. Serving at 7 a.m.; ends at 11 a.m.
The All You Can Eat Pancake Breakfast is not new, but for a lot of people in Lehigh, they don't know about it, Goehle's wife, Lisa, said.
The pancake makers start preparing the mix at 4 a.m. on Saturday and when the doors open at 7 a.m., they will have hundreds of pancakes ready to serve. There's plenty of room for pancake lovers.
The pancake breakfast has being going on for more than 50 years.
It has been a tradition for the community since 1960 when the All States Square Club started having the breakfast to raise money for the building of the Masonic Lodge.
In 1958, Masons from all 50 states came together to form the All States Square Club and the original "Pancake Breakfast" was served on tables in a field where the Winn-Dixie shopping plaza is today.
Then in 1963, the Lehigh Acres Shrine Club became active with the breakfast.
By 1994, the All States Fellowship Club had dismantled and the Shrine Club continued with the breakfast.
In 1967, the Masonic Lodge was built and the field behind the lodge was used for the breakfast until 1976 when the Frank E. Lyons Hall was dedicated and the annual Spring Festival Pancake Breakfast moved to its new home where it is still today.
Goehle said they are ready and if you want to fill yourself up with a great and cheap breakfast before the Spring Festival Parade starts at 11 a.m., this is the place to be.
"Come and eat with us, enjoy talking with your friends, make new ones and when the parade starts, you don't have to walk far to get a good view and besides, that is where the judges' stand is located, in front of the SunTrust Bank," Goehle said.
And you don't have to worry about the pancakes being the frozen kind like you buy in the big supermarkets.
These guys start making the batches of mix before the sun comes up. They grease up the pans and start pouring pancake mix, in anticipation of a huge crowd of pancake lovers.
Goehle said small children probably will want a few pancakes that they can take off their parents' plates.
"The whole family is welcome to come and eat all they want," Goehle laughed. "You might not even want lunch after the parade."
As in the past, the sausages are from George Hoendler who used to own a meat deli in Lehigh and currently is the owner of the Pepper Deli in Naples.
"And believe me, these are not your small brown and serve sausages, but sausages that you can sink your teeth into," Goehle laughed.
For a lot of people, it wouldn't be Parade Day without first starting out at the pancake breakfast.
"If we can get the word out, we'll serve 'tons of pancakes' to all of Lehigh," Goehle said. And you could tell he meant it.
"We really do mean it. We want to continue the tradition and once you have eaten our pancakes, you will come back each year for more and more," he said.
The parade begins promptly at 11 a.m. in the Beth Stacey Blvd. area and travels down Homestead Rd. to a spot not far from Veterans Park.
"Groups perform in front of the judges' stands and there will be people like Vickie Culver helping to emcee the units as they go by," Goehle said.
"Come and eat all the pancakes you can and start off your day with a full stomach," Goehle laughed. "Just $5 for a good cause, too."
"Like we said, this is the 53rd year for the pancake breakfast ... it is a real tradition now," he said.