(Shutterstock, Kiwanis Club of Casper, Facebook)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Kiwanis Club of Casper’s 67th Annual Pancake Festival is returning Saturday, May 14 to Casper College, with all proceeds going to support programs serving children.

Griddle-master Michael Keim will be back with the pancake wagon and his secret recipe, according to the club’s treasurer, Valerie Kulhavy. Sausage and scrambled eggs will also be served.

The event takes place at the Tobin Dining Hall from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 14. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors and $8 for adults. Tickets can be purchased at Cadillac Cowgirl, from any Kiwanis member, or at the event.

Pancakes are all-you-can-eat, and Kulhavy said the event has served as many as 2,000.

“Frozen” icons Queen Anna and Elsa, as well as Batman, will be in attendance from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., courtesy of Dream Upon a Princess.

“’Young children priority one’ is kind of the motto of the club,” Kulhavy said.

Read for Kids is one the local Kiwanis programs. Throughout the school year, three to four books are purchased for all public school district preschoolers and read to them by Kiwanis members. Additionally, Coats for Kids collects, cleans and distributes coats to needy families, primarily through the Salvation Army. 

The group also provides Casper College with scholarships for high schoolers involved with the group or other service activities, sponsors camps for underprivileged youth, and works with the Self-Help Center and other programs helping families escape violence.

Notable projects in the community include the handicap-accessible Ability Playground at Wells Park in North Casper and the bench and gazebo overlooking the river on the Platte River Trails System.

Current projects include the development of a financial literacy program with Casper College, Kulhavy said.

With the COVID-19 pandemic canceling the last two Festivals, the Kiwanis partnered with Food for Thought to deliver 15,000 servings of pancake breakfasts to 800 food-insecure children and families, Kulhavy said.

A member for 30 years, Kulhavy said the club lets her serve the community on a flexible schedule. 

“It’s hard to make a difference when you’re just that one person out there without a group or a goal,” she said.

Membership has dwindled from around 145 members when she joined to about 45 now. In the past, businesses and companies sponsored their employees’ quarterly dues to a greater extent than they do now, she said.

The group meets at noon every Thursday at the Clarion for a featured guest speaker. Recently, they’ve hosted Natrona County Collective Health Trust CEO Merideth Benton and Sheriff John Harlin.

“I love our speakers,” Kulhavy said. “It’s a great way for us to keep up with the happenings and needs in the community.”