SPRINGFIELD — Diners who showed up at the annual World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast on Saturday seemed to flip over the flapjacks on their plates.
The enthusiasm was apparent on the faces of families who took their seats at the long, continuous table that stretched from State to Bridge streets on Main Street downtown.
Thousands dined on a breakfast of pancakes, bacon, milk, orange juice and coffee at the popular event. New this year were samples of iced coffee and Munchkins from Dunkin’, and cheese from Cabot Creamery Co-operative.
The event was possible thanks to the volunteers turned out to cook, serve, sell tickets and keep tables clean, according to Judith Matt, president of Spirit of Springfield.
“We have over 300 volunteers working to serve you today. Nobody is getting paid,” Matt said. “Everyone is doing it because they want to bring people together, and that’s what we’re all about.”
She added, “I just have to say a special, special thank you to MGM … without their support, and TD Bank’s and Monson Bank’s, we just couldn’t do this event.”
Chris Kelley, president and COO of MGM Springfield and honorary chairman of the pancake breakfast, noted that the annual event was canceled in 2020 and postponed last year.
“When you think about the challenges of the last few years, one the hardest, I think, for all of us in this community, was our inability to come together … to share a meal together,” Kelley said. But “our future is bright, our strength is in each other, and Springfield will be having this breakfast for another 4,000 years.”
It was a dual celebration, with the breakfast, sponsored by MGM Springfield, falling on the date of Springfield’s 386th birthday.
The event included entertainment and activities at Court Square, Monarch Place and the entertainment stage at Bruce Landon Way. Among the entertainers were the Springfield Sci-Tech High School Jazz Band, Austin Fair, En Motion Dance Theater, Grisel’s Private Dancer School of Arts, Springfield Prep Charter School and Youthful Expressions.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Springfield Department of Health and Human Services, and American Medical Response administered COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots for those who wanted them.
Following the World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast, guests were invited to Riverfront Park to attend Healthy Us, a community day of wellness is presented by Springfield Vax Force Youth Council.