Santa#039;s spirit alive, well in Friends of Ironton event

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 4, 2005

Hey, you. Yes, you. Do this community a favor and don't eat a big supper on Friday evening.

No, we're not concerned about your waistline. OK, maybe a little, but only for health reasons. The real purpose is to help the community.

On Saturday morning you can experience one of those rare moments in life in which something you want to do and need to do also helps others.

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That's right, by enjoying a big breakfast on Saturday you can help contribute to making the community a better place.

&#8220How?” you may ask, &#8220Can filling my belly with pancakes help anyone else?”


Come to the second-annual Pancake Breakfast sponsored by the Friends of Ironton. The event will be at Applebee's just across the river in Ashland, Ky. The restaurant has graciously donated all of the food for the event, with two stipulations: First, the Friends of Ironton have to supply the &#8220muscle” to get food to and from the tables.

Second, the Friends had to bring someone really special this year. So they probably started running through the list of local celebrities.

Hmm, let's see Š Former Ironton High standout turned Marshall University head football coach Mark Snyder. Nah, he's too busy.

Calls were placed to famed game show host Chuck Woolery, an Ashland native, but Woolery was on a fishing trip to test his latest MotoLure.

What about someone from the Judd family? Probably not.

The Judds are great people, but they needed someone with real, universal drawing power, someone familiar, but who rarely comes to these parts.

They came up with the perfect celeb. Direct from the frigid North Pole, the Jolly Ole' Jingler himself, Santa Claus.

That's right, St. Nick himself will be available for any area parental paparazzi.

Tickets for the event are $5 and are available from Rick Jansen at Bob Clyse Pontiac-GMC, Cheryl Bolender at ReMax Realty, here at The Tribune or from many other Friends of Ironton volunteers.

Last year, around 200 hungry flapjack lovers came to the event.

Friends of Ironton co-founder Rick Jansen said he hopes this year's crowd tops 350.

Proceeds from this year's event will help prepay some of the expenses related to this May's second Gus Macker Tournament, scheduled for May 20-21.

&#8220All the proceeds that are derived from it will go right back into the community,” Jansen said. &#8220It's a fun event. We have a good time with it.”

In just over two years since the group was first formed, the Friends have made a significant impact on the Ironton area creating two big annual events, the Rally on the River motorcycle rally and the Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. This year, the group is planning a third, an Oktoberfest for Ironton.

The Friends also received word recently that the group is now considered a 501(c)3 non-profit, which means that any contributions are tax deductible.

&#8220It's a big puzzle we're putting together,” Jansen said of the group's mission to help improve the economy and quality of life in the area.

Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Even if you don't believe in the man in the big red suit, lots of others - namely the Friends of Ironton volunteers who will be working on Saturday - are proof that Santa's spirit of giving is alive and well.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1441, ext. 12 or by e-mail to