State

It’s almost flippin’ time for the Pancake Day Race

Summer Parsons crosses the finish line in March 2014 to win the Liberal leg of the International Pancake Race. Parsons also won last year’s race. The 2017 race is Tuesday in Liberal and Olney, England.
Summer Parsons crosses the finish line in March 2014 to win the Liberal leg of the International Pancake Race. Parsons also won last year’s race. The 2017 race is Tuesday in Liberal and Olney, England. File photo

The anticipation is building once again for one of the world’s most unique races.

Who will win the International Pancake Day Race on Tuesday?

The race pits women, skillets and pancakes from Liberal against their counterparts from Olney, England. The race – a 415-yard, S-shaped course through downtown Liberal –is always run at 11:55 a.m. on Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras and – Pancake Day.

Twelve Kansas women are entered in this year’s race, now in its 68th year.

According to legend, the Olney Pancake Race began on Shrove Tuesday in 1445, when a housewife was using the last of her family's cooking fat before Lent, when it would be forbidden. She heard the church bells ring for services and ran to the church still wearing her apron, with skillet and pancake in hand.

When Time magazine did a feature on the race in 1950, Liberal challenged Olney to a friendly trans-Atlantic competition. It has been a rivalry since, and the event has turned into a four-day celebration in Liberal.

The score now stands with Liberal winning 37 times, Olney 29.

The Mudbugs Cajun and Zydeco Band performs at Heroes Sports Bar for a Fat Tuesday celebration.

Beccy Tanner: 316-268-6336, @beccytanner

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