Olney, England wins 74th International Pancake Day Race
LIBERAL, Kan. (KWCH) - A tradition since 1950, the town of Liberal, Kan. has competed in a friendly competition against Olney, England in the International Pancake Race. On Tuesday, the 74th year of the race, Olney took back bragging rights after Liberal claimed victory last year.
Each year, participants in each community 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 two communities continued to challenge one another remotely every Shrove Tuesday, better known as International Pancake Day.
The event was canceled in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but picked up again last year.
Despite not being able to repeat as winners, those gathered Tuesday morning in Liberal enjoyed the annual pancake feast and the revelry surrounding the tradition for the southwest Kansas town going back nearly three quarters of a century.
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