Pink pancakes a hearty way to start Cherry Blossom day

lfabian@macon.comMarch 17, 2012 

On the 125th anniversary of the city's first professional fire department, Macon-Bibb County firefighters manned the front lines of hot grills at Central City Park.

Crews and volunteers whipped up hundreds of batches of pink pancakes and grilled sausage for the annual Pink Pancake breakfast on the opening Saturday of the Cherry Blossom Festival.

"On this date, March 17th, 1887, the city of Macon transitioned from volunteer fire service to a paid fire service," said retired Chief Jimmy Hartley as he flipped patties on the grill. "They built that little station on there on Church Street in east Macon and, I think, hired 10 firefighters."

In more than two dozen years of serving up rosy batches of griddle cakes, Hartley estimated they've raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the American Center Society.

It's a cause that strikes a nerve for 2012 Cherry Blossom Festival Chairman Steve Farr.

"Pink pancakes in the park mean a lot to the Cherry Blossom Festival because, once again, this is another opportunity where we have to be engaged in the community," Farr said. "This is a great cause and, personally, as a cancer survivor, I love seeing this type of involvement in what we can do to help stop cancer."

Assistant Chief Cliff Rushin said the department really enjoys helping fuel a day's worth of Cherry Blossom fun with a good breakfast, coffee and orange juice.

"We have a lot of support from the community and just thank everybody for coming out," Rushin said as the line snaked from the front of the big white tent, down a row of food booths and turned the corner to the entrance of the round building at the park.

Pink pancakes for $5 a plate will be served again next Saturday.

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