Annual Pancake Day Race called off for 2021

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 7:10 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A tradition for Olney, England for centuries and Liberal, Kansas for the past 71 years is being postponed until next year (2022) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pancake Day Race and the celebration surrounding International Pancake Day is usually held on Fat Tuesday, which would was today (Feb. 16).

This year is the 72nd anniversary of the event for Liberal. Each year, participants in Liberal and Olney determine who can run a 415-yard race the fastest while also being able to flip a pancake.

The tradition that created International Pancake Day is a centuries-old legend in Olney. The legend has it that it all began one Sunday in 1445 when an Olney woman was making pancake when she heard the church bells ring. To make sure she wasn’t late for the service, she ran to the church, donning an apron and holding her frying pan with a pancake in it.

In 1950, Liberal challenged Olney in the pancake race after seeing the English event in a magazine. The southwest Kansas community held bragging rights in 2018 and 2019 before Olney’s win last year by about three seconds.

Due to the winter weather, a Pancake Chase Fun Run (separate from the Pancake Day Race), scheduled this past weekend in Liberal, was rescheduled until March 22.

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