The Pancake Festival has been an annual project of the Baton Rouge Downtown Kiwanis Club since 1950. In that year the club held its first Pancake Day at the St. James Episcopal Parish House on Fourth Street. The building has since been demolished. 500 to 750 tickets were sold and an idea had become a reality.
By 1955 the project had outgrown its original location. Pancake Day was moved to the American Legion Community Center on Florida Street, and 4000 tickets were sold. In 1960 the community-wide Amateur Talent Contest was added, and performers of all ages were invited to perform before the large audience and to compete for prizes. 8,000 tickets were sold and Pancake Day became known as the Pancake Festival.
The annual event continued to grow, and in 1978 the Pancake Festival was moved to the LSU Assembly Center. The Community-Wide Art Contest was added to the talent contest, and 18,000 tickets were sold. The Pancake Festival became a popular meeting place for hungry families and friends to enjoy the best meal in town for the money, local amateur talent performances, and exhibits of the work of young artists.
The Downtown Kiwanis Club has invested several hundred thousands of dollars in community service and youth support as a result of funds generated through this activity. By club policy and custom, profit from ticket sales are used only for such purposes. No income from the Pancake Festival is used for operation of the Kiwanis Club or to benefit any club member.
Hopefully, you and other members of our community will continue to support and enjoy this annual Kiwanis tradition.