LIBERAL, Kan. (KSNW) — Liberal squeaked out a victory in the annual International Pancake Day race on Tuesday.

The women took to the street at noon. Liberal beat Olney, England, with a time of 1 minute 7 seconds. Olney’s time came in at 1 minute 10 seconds.

The winner of the Liberal leg was Whitney Hay, followed by Isabelle Sullenger and Maria Alba.

The race returned after a hiatus in 2021 due to COVID-19. The last time the two competed, Olney won the race.

(Courtesy: Pancake Day Race Facebook)

The event started back in 1445 in Olney, England, when a woman was making pancakes to use up her cooking fats before lent. While making the pancakes, she heard the church bells ringing for the shriving service. She ran 415 yards to the church, skillet and pancake in hand. In the following years, it became a race as neighbors joined in to see who could make it to the church first to collect a kiss of peace from the bell ringer.

It was brought to Liberal in 1950 when a magazine showed a picture of Olney women racing to church. Liberal Jaycee President R.J. Leete contacted the Vicar of St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church in Olney, Reverand Ronald Collins, challenging their women to race against the women of Liberal. The prize of the race in Liberal is also a kiss of peace from the bell ringer.

International Pancake Day celebrations in Liberal (Courtesy: Enrique R. Franz)

The events for this year are as follows:

Tuesday, March 1

  • 6-10 a.m. Pancake Breakfast, Seward County Activity Center, 810 Stadium Road
    • Tickets are required ($5 per person)
  • 7:30 a.m. Breakfast Program, Seward County Activity Center
  • 8:30 a.m. Eating & Flipping Contest, Seward County Activity Center
    • Registration for these events are from 6-8 a.m.
  • 10:30 a.m. Youth Races, W 4th St and N Lincoln Ave
  • 11:15 a.m. Mascot Races, W 4th St and N Lincoln Ave
  • 11:40 a.m. Men’s Pacer Race, Liberal Memorial Library, E 6th St and N Kansas Ave
  • 11:55 a.m. Shriving Service, First United Methodist Church, 116 W 3rd St
  • Immediately following Shriving Service is the live video conference call with Olney, England, First United Methodist Church
  • 3:00 p.m. Pancake Day Parade, 11th and Kansas Avenue to W Trail St
    • Line up starts at 2:30 p.m. at Light Park

A baby cakes award, which goes to the first baby born on International Pancake Day, was awarded to Nicole Ajibade. She was born at 9:19 a.m. weighing 8.14 lbs to mother Mary Adedeji.

For pictures of the 2022 International Pancake Day parade, click here.

To get in the spirit of International Pancake Day, you can buy gear here.

To stay up to date with International Pancake Day in Liberal, you can like them on Facebook.

To see the 2022 event winners, click here.