Take time this year to visit one of the most unique footraces in the world. It is an international competition between the women of Liberal, Kansas and the women of Olney, England.For 63 years, on the day before the start of Lent, women who normally have “domestic duties” have donned aprons, head coverings and running shoes to carry a skillet full of pancake in a 415-yard sprint through the streets of town. A flip of the pancake at the beginning and the end of the race proves their skillet is full – and someone takes home international honors.The race tradition goes back over 500 years in Olney, when the story goes, a woman trying to make it to a Noon Shrove Tuesday service sprinted to church with her skillet in hand. In 1950, a picture in a magazine inspired Liberal women to challenge their international counterparts to a head to head race. Liberal women are ahead in the standings 36 to 25.What: 2012 International Pancake Day RaceWhen: February 21 at 11:55 a.m.Where: 6th and Kansas in LiberalThe International race lasts only a minute, but is the centerpiece of a four day celebration in Liberal. Activities start on Saturday, February 18 with a merchandise sale; eating, flipping and cooking contests; and an artist showcase. Sunday, February 19 features the Miss Liberal contest. On Monday night, the community celebrates a talent show.Tuesday, February 21st is the big event with a day full of activities including:6:00 to 10:00 a.m. – Pancake Breakfast10:00 to 11:45 a.m. – Youth and Men’s Races11:55 a.m. – the International Pancake Day Race12:15 p.m. – Shriving Service – First United Methodist Church1:30 p.m. – International Video Conference with Olney to congratulate the 2012 winner3:00 p.m. – ParadeThis year’s Parade Grand Marshalls will be mayor of Olney, England Mike Hughes and his wife Susan.Becky Blake is the Director of the Kansas Travel & Tourism Division, and has been involved in the Kansas tourism industry for the past 30 years. The TravelKS Blog provides a brief update from Becky each week, featuring communities, events and attractions throughout the state.
Posted on February 7, 2012 10:55AM