International Pancake Day Hall of Fame - Gastro Obscura

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Gastro Obscura

International Pancake Day Hall of Fame

This museum was built to share the story of Liberal's singular pancake-flipping racing tradition. 


As Mardi Gras is to New Orleans, so is Pancake Day to the city of Liberal, Kansas. The International Pancake Day Hall of Fame is dedicated to telling the story of the Pancake Day Race, Liberal’s unique, batter-filled tradition. 

The term “Pancake Day,” much like Mardi Gras or Carnival, is another name for Shrove Tuesday, the day before the beginning of Lent. In Olney, England, Pancake Day has been celebrated with a race since 1445. After reading about the event, Pancake Day founders R.J. and Virginia Leete challenged the city of Olney to an international race, and on February 21, 1950, the Pancake Day competition was born.

The traditional Pancake Day race is run exclusively by women in ‘housewife’ regalia consisting of a head covering and an apron. The race is 415 yards, and competitors must carry their pancakes in a skillet and toss the pancakes at least twice: once at the race’s beginning and again at the finish line. Winners receive the “Kiss of Peace,” The race is followed by a Shriving Service where the hymn “Amazing Grace” is sung, a nod to Olney, England, where John Newton wrote the words in 1772. 

In 2005, the International Pancake Day Hall of Fame and Museum was completed, and it became the new headquarters of Pancake Day. The museum is home to Pancake Day memorabilia, including press clippings, pins and souvenirs from each race, the history and regulations of pancake racing, and the original dress, apron, and skillet of Mrs. Billie Warden, the first-ever Pancake Day race winner. The Hall of Fame also has merchandise available for sale throughout the year, including T-shirts and belt buckles from prior years, as well as a mural outside, illustrating pancake racing in action.

The goal of the Hall of Fame is to preserve the tradition of Pancake Day as the demographics of Liberal have changed. The race had been dying out, but Hispanic residents have made up about half of the competitors in recent years, bringing a new era of vibrancy to the race. The race is also part of a larger set of festivities, including pancake eating and pancake flipping contests, and a 5K fun run.


Know Before You Go

The International Pancake Day Hall of Fame is open for the Pancake Day festival, and at all other times by appointment only. Call 620-624-6423 to arrange a tour.

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December 13, 2023

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