Weekly Feature

2018-01-31 / Front Page

Lions Pancake Breakfast sees venue change, moves to Town Park


Though the numbers have declined since the time nearly 1,000 people would pack the Clarence High School cafeteria for pancakes, eggs and sausage, the Clarence Lions’ annual pancake breakfast has become a community staple that is as much about the camaraderie as the food.

This year, residents will head to the Clarence Town Park Club House instead of the high school from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, as they continue the decades-long tradition at a new location.

The venue change, says Clarence Lions President Tim Pazda, is related to an ease of logistics as most of the group’s equipment is stored at the club house. But in addition to the new setting, residents will also get to sample a new menu item: home fries.

“It’s really going to be a full breakfast — eggs, pancakes, home fries and sausage. You’re certainly getting your money’s worth, and it is definitely for a good cause,” Pazda said.

Now the largest service organization in the world, with 1.4 million members in 210 countries, the organization will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year.

The breakfast is the second largest annual fundraising event for the Clarence Lions, behind only Day in the Park — now Bark in the Park — held during the summer.

With the money raised, the Lions are able to offer financial support to groups that include American Legion Post 838, the Clarence Food Pantry, the Clarence Library, Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service and Guiding Eyes for the Blind, which will have service dogs available to meet and greet patrons at the breakfast. Years ago, the group was able to purchase a Braille machine for a 7-year-old girl who was losing her sight because of macular degeneration.

Attendance numbers have been holding steady in recent years, says Pazda, despite an abundance of new town offerings that might draw residents away from the 50-year-old breakfast gathering. The event still raises roughly $2,000 of total profit annually, which allows the Lions to provide a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving Clarence High School senior.

Pazda believes that the event reminds residents that when they choose to eat breakfast together each February, they’re in turn supporting their own community.

“For many residents, they feel very strongly about this event because it’s a tradition for them,” he said.

This year, tickets for the breakfast cost $8. Children ages 5 to 10 pay $5, and children younger than 5 are admitted free. First responders and active duty military members will receive a free ticket with each one purchased.

The Lions’ propensity for altruism extends far beyond the annual breakfast. The group is currently looking for volunteers to help with a vision screening program for the town’s day care centers and preschools, which members hope will further the organization’s historical commitment to improve eyesight and prevent blindness.

Eighty percent of all visual impairment can be prevented, according to Pazda, and the first step in prevention is awareness. In this vein, Pazda believes that the used eyeglasses donation boxes placed throughout the town are one small way in which the Lions are able to make a tangible difference.

“In 2017, we’ve collected 2,000 pairs of used eyeglasses. That’s just our little community. And you have to remember that in many cases, these are the only glasses that people will have access to,” he said. “It’s one of those projects that we do that people don’t even think about, but it really has a huge impact on people’s lives.”

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Clarence Special Events 2018
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