MASSENA - Early Friday afternoon, the J.W. Leary Junior High School gymnasium was packed with tables and chairs.
Starting this morning, it will be packed with people enjoying an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast prepared by the Massena Rotary Club.
When the calendar ushers in spring, it also brings with it the annual Massena Rotary Club Pancake Day, which has been a staple in the community for 53 years.
This year, as in the past, Rotary officials say theyre expecting folks to be waiting at the door when it opens at 6 a.m. today. And theyre anticipating a large crowd will filter through the doors by the time they close them at 1 p.m.
We consistently serve 2,000 or more. Its a big day for us, according to Dale Kramer, who co-chairs the event with Dwight Job.
Mr. Kramer said he anticipates mixing enough batter to make 4,700 pancakes. But theyre ready for the action.
Were all systems go. We will serve them unless Tom Sullivan burns them, he joked, referring to the his fellow Rotarian who heads the kitchen crew.
Its a bargain breakfast for just a few bucks. The all-you-can-eat meal includes pancakes with local maple syrup, sausages, orange juice and beverage. The cost at the door is $6 for adults, $5 for youth, and children under 5 are free.
This year we have had a number of organizations come forward to make donations for the ingredients with the exception of the sausages, Mr. Kramer said.
Were going to have more money to put into youth programs, he said.
A silent auction will be held from 6 a.m. to noon and, items have been coming in steadily from the community, according to Mr. Kramer, who said theyve also received assistance - as they always do - from the school district and St. Lawrence Gas in helping set up for the affair.
There will be plenty of help circulating around the gym during the breakfast, too. He said Susan Macaulay is bringing softball team members, and members of other spring sports teams may be on hand as well, working in shifts to make sure everyones taken care of.
As an added bonus to the day, Christopher Lincoln will bring in the cast of Guys and Dolls, this years high school spring musical, to perform for guests at 10 a.m.
Advance ticket sales have been steady, according to the co-chair.
We aim for 2,000 (people). Its kind of the thing in the spring. It truly is a spring coming out event, Mr. Kramer said.
Before this years event wraps up, the gears are already turning for the 2013 breakfast, he said.
The planning for next year is underway already, he said.