It's official. The Fargo Kiwanis Club's 50th annual Pancake Karnival set a new Guinness world record for flapjacks made in eight hours. As of 3 p.m. Saturday, 34,818 pancakes had been made, surpassing the previous mark of 30,724. The record was r...
The Fargo Kiwanis Club's 50th annual Pancake Karnival set a new Guinness world record for flapjacks made in eight hours.
As of 3 p.m. Saturday, 34,818 pancakes had been made, surpassing the previous mark of 30,724.
The record was reached despite blizzard-like conditions in the Fargo area as gusting winds and drifting snow reduced visibility.
If it hadn't been for the bad weather, Julie Ahmann of Barnesville would have missed the annual feed.
With Interstate 94 closed from Moorhead to Fergus Falls, Minn., early Saturday, Ahmann decided to stay in Fargo and attend the flapjack fest.
"I like to support the community," she said.
Plus, she really likes the sausage that is served.
"I always get a case," she said as she moved further in line.
Kiwanis member David Bertel said that when he joined the organization more than 20 years ago it boasted "the largest pancake feed."
"Now we can prove it," Bertel said.
Even though setting a new world record only took the club eight hours, executing the event took much longer.
As 3 p.m. approached, a palpable excitement filled the air in the Fargo Civic Center auditorium, along with the sweet aromas of hot pancakes and steaming sausages.
At 2:45 p.m., Arday Ardayfio, Kiwanis member and co-chairman of the event, announced that 33,595 pancakes had been made, with 15 minutes left for the record.
Just before the news conference that would announce the new record, several Kiwanis members congratulated Ardayfio and each other on a job well done.
At the news conference, the new record was announced, and Kiwanis Club Vice President Birch Burdick explained that he believed the people who attended the feed were the most important aspect.
"It was young, and it was old; there's people walking on foot, hobbling on crutches and rolling in wheelchairs to come here today," he said. "The real winners, as always, are the children in our community and the projects we can now (fund) ... so the thanks belong to all of you for your generosity and support of this project for 50 years."
Burdick said he first attended the Pancake Karnival as a child with his grandfather.
"I always loved it," he said. "It's a fun event that the community comes out to support every year."
Breaking the record
Ardayfio said that last year someone brought up the idea that there was no other pancake feed larger than the Karnival, so they should "go for the world record."
Once the registration process had begun, the club switched its world-record attempt from most people served to the most pancakes served, a record that had been set by the Lubbock, Texas, Lions Club in 2002.
Kris Teufel, an adjudicator and records manager with Guinness World Records in London, was officially tracking the number of flapjacks, along with four other counters stationed at the grill locations.
Before the event started at 7 a.m., Teufel met with all the grillers to discuss size requirements and supply them with a pancake template.
Bertel said he's volunteered to cook pancakes at the event for 20 years, but this is the first time he's had to follow guidelines.
Bertel kept his template close to his grill so he could ensure that his flapjacks would hold up to the record's standards.
"We also provide samples to make certain we're meeting the minimum size," Bertel said, as he flipped a row of pancakes.
Setup a 'science'
The logistics necessary to execute an event of this size are so precise that they've "come down to a science," Ardayfio said.
Years ago, a Kiwanis member who happened to be an engineer figured out exactly how the feed should be set up, Ardayfio said, right down to the placement of the grills and layout of the line area.
"It flows well," he said.
While the "science" is necessary, manpower is crucial to the event's success.
Shara Fischer, the other event co-chairwoman, said that more than 400 volunteers would work in three different shifts throughout the day.
Volunteers range from business people in the community to service club members to athletes from the three area colleges, Ardayfio said.
"People from all walks of life come in to help," he said.
By the numbers
3: round grills used
3-4: minutes it takes to cook one pancake
4: pancakes each adult attendee typically received
5.25: minimum inches each pancake needed to be
12: square grills used
15-18: pancakes each square grill can hold
45-60: pancakes each round grill can hold
50: years the Kiwanis Club has hosted the Pancake Karnival
192: bottles of sugar-free
400+: volunteers helping throughout the day
936: bottles of regular syrup ordered
1,800: pounds of sausage served
10,000: cartons of 2 percent milk distributed
11,000: cartons of orange juice handed out
34,818: pancakes served in eight hours (officials stopped counting after 3 p.m.)
10,198: total attendance
Source: Fargo Kiwanis Club
Readers can reach Forum reporter Danielle Troske at (701) 241-5505