Flapjack Day, a Labor Day tradition that began in Berthoud in the 1940s and was renewed by Star City Brewing in 2015, returned to Berthoud Monday.
The celebration, originally the domain of the local Chamber of Commerce, was eventually discontinued in 1958 because it became too large to maintain. That changed in 2015 when Star City Brewing bartender Ian Phillips noticed an old photograph on the wall of the brewery depicting the event, and he became determined to bring it back.
Since then the event has ballooned, even overcoming an unexpected two-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, to establish itself as a community tradition once again.
Berthoud Flapjack Day, a tradition from the mid-20th century that was revived by City Star Brewing in 2015, offers free pancakes to visitors. (Will Costello / Loveland Reporter Herald).
“I think that it has,” said Diane Levy, director of the Berthoud Historical Society and one of the main organizers and flapjack flippers during the festivities. “For an example, several people have said ‘I missed it last year, I couldn’t make it. So I changed my travel plans to be here this time.’”
Donations at Flapjack Day benefit the Historical Society, especially important, said Levy, now that they are no longer running annual galas, one of the society’s main fundraisers.
For the first time, donations could also be made online or with credit cards, as opposed to past years when they were limited to cash stuffed into jars by grateful attendees.
“As the person handing out the pancakes most of the morning, I just kept saying ‘The Historical Society thanks you!’” Levy said.
Pancakes are not the only attraction to Flapjack Day though.
Taking place at a brewery in the late morning and early afternoon, flights of breakfast beers are on sale at City Star Brewing, with part of the proceeds benefiting the Historical Society. A classic car show allows collectors and others to peek under the hood of old Model T’s, Corvette’s, and other classics stretched down First Street in Berthoud, and live music, this year provided by the Vern Neeley Vibe, was presented in the late afternoon.
The Flapjack Queen Contest, a women-only eating competition where contestants race to house five flapjacks faster than the rest, had a few changes this year.
The most notable was an absence. Reigning Flapjack Queen Lynsey Morgan, who has emerged victorious by considerable margins in the last five Flapjack Queen contests, chose to retire this year, although she did bring her family to the event in order to crown the winner and to eat pancakes at a more modest pace.
Her successor, Lexy Seeley, licked her plate clean at the 2:10 mark.
“I got some pointers from the queen herself,” she said, gesturing at Morgan who was standing nearby. “It definitely helps to have somebody who has battle experience.”
Phillips, the bartender who renewed the tradition in 2015, has shifted careers from “slinging beers to slinging houses,” but still hosts the event and the eating competition.
“The generosity of everyone who shows up and donates, as well as the sponsors, is what keeps this alive,” Phillips said. “And we’re hoping to keep doing it. Because it is just a real community event where everybody gets together to do something cool.”