Immanuel Lutheran celebrates 75 years of pancakes


Pancake batter will be on the griddles and residents will be eating plenty of pancakes as they have for many decades before.
Immanuel Lutheran will host its 75th annual Pancake Day breakfast this Saturday from 6 a.m.-1 p.m.
“It’s an exciting time for us,” Immanuel Lutheran Church Pastor Matthew Marks said. “It’s a tradition that has stood the test of time. You don’t see thar many things run for 75 years anymore.”
The first pancake day was in April 1950 and serving on the committee at the time was Henry Pilz, Harry Fritz Henry Ochs, Louis Hoffstetter and George Muench. In the early days of the pancake day breakfast tickets were 35 cents.
“Let’s just say it is not that cheap anymore,” Patti Wichern said.
Pilz, a salesman for Pillsbury Mills, suggested a pancake day to raise money for a new school. Pillsbury donated the Aunt Jemima pancake flour and many of the other items used that day. The first breakfast was held in the old church basement and really no one really knew what to expect, but they were sure surprised at the result. Reports say that there was a waiting lines and people everywhere hoping to enjoy the food. There were over 3,000 people served that day.

In the early 1930’s Perryville’s Lion’s Club was already sponsoring occasional pancake breakfasts, but Immanuel Lutheran was the first to make it an annual day affair.
The early editions of the event served pancakes from 6 a.m.-7 p.m., which has changed over the years as well.
Usually 12 hogs were butchered, averaging about 260 pounds each for the whole hog sausage. Harlan Petzoldt, who served as Committee Chairman for multiple years, was very selective in what each hog looked like. There were ten 50-pound bags of pancake mix were ordered from what is now Gilster Mary-Lee. Other ingredients included milk, butter, eggs, syrups, coffee and also blueberries, which are still used today. It was rather a recent invention in 1940.
Every summer, a group of people would go out and pick about 100 pounds of berries from the Highland Blueberry Farm, which is now closed. The Lord certainly blessed the endeavor as over the years it has provided funds for many projects at Immanuel Lutheran.
Nowadays, the event serves approximately 2,000 people per year, with the hopes of continuing the tradition well into the future.
“It’s one of my favorite events of the year,” Marks said. “I look forward to it every year and I hope the people enjoy it as much as I do.”