INGRAHAM — Zael Kravitz downed 18 flapjacks in about 30 minutes at the North Country Squares' 37th Pancake Weekend."Last year, I ate 17," said the Keeseville teen, who traveled to Sanger's Sugar House in the Chazy hamlet of Ingraham with about 25 members of the Independent Baptist Church Youth Group for the annual fundraiser on Sunday. "I thought I'd come back and try to make a record."There is even a spiritual side to the breakfast, Kravitz said."The amazing thing is this maple syrup came from a bunch of trees. It was made by God."But meal itself was served up by North Country Squares Co-presidents Dick Crawford and Celeste Roy along with about 40 club volunteers who also cooked the food and bused tables on both Saturday and Sunday. Crawford said there had been about 1,300 customers as of about 2 p.m. the second day."Spring doesn't happen until this event takes place. It's a rite of spring," he said.Used this year were 400 pounds of pancake mix, 440 pounds of sausage, 38 gallons of maple syrup and 10 cases of milk.Sanger's Sugar House owners Lee and Kim Sanger and several relatives were also there. Kim was busy selling sweet products including maple syrup, maple cream, maple butter and maple candy.She makes about 1,500 four-piece packets and about 150 larger block pieces of maple candy for the event. She said Pancake Weekend is a long-time tradition."We have a lot of people whose parents brought them as kids. Now, they bring their own kids," she said.Steve and Celeste Krieg of Plattsburgh have been regulars for 10 years or more. As she pointed to a table full of teens, Celeste said Pancake Weekend is enjoyed by all ages."They're having a great time," she said. "Every year, we meet someone we know and have an excellent conversation. It's always a great turnout."
The Kriegs were dining with Kay and George Hubbell of Chazy, who've attended for more than two decades."The food is great, and it's a great atmosphere," Kay said above the din of the diners and whirring heaters inside the large white tent.North Country Squares member Bob West was one of the ones who organized the dance club's first pancake weekend back in 1971. The group was considering staging a strawberry festival to raise money when he suggested selling pancakes."I came out to talk with Ben Sanger. He thought it was a good idea," West said. "I think we took in $1,025 that first year. We were right in heaven."He said some people have been customers for all 37 years, and some come both days each year."One lady came twice yesterday and once today," West said.Roy said Pancake Weekend is a family-oriented event for the volunteers, too. Her daughter and three of her granddaughters also served diners Sunday.This is North Country Squares' 46th year, she said."It's amazing how many people ask about the club," Roy said. "We serve the people and invite them to come to our (dances)."Crawford said the square-dance club has about 116 members, up from about 75 three years ago. Roy said there's an alcohol-free, smoke-free environment for socialization that also is great exercise.The club also does charity work, including demonstrations for seniors and a benefit dance that raised $653 for the FitzPatrick Cancer Center in March.
"That was a good turnout for dancers," she said.