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Batter UP!

(ABOVE) Marleigh Dickson gobbles up her pancake during the Chesapeake-Proctorville-Rome Township Lions Club Pancake Breakfast Saturday.

CHESAPEAKE — The first winter-like day of the season did nothing to keep away a crowd of pancake lovers at this year’s Chesapeake-Proctorville-Rome Township Lions Club Pancake Breakfast.

By 9:30 a.m. Saturday the cafeteria of the Chesapeake Elementary School was packed with hungry patrons.

Pouring out gallons of batter was Paul Hart, president of the club, who was happily tired from the task.

“It has been absolutely crazy today,” Hart said. “We can’t keep up with their plates.”

What is the secret to a perfect pancake Hart was asked.

“Organization,” he said. “We love what we’re doing and we have a good time doing it. This is our most successful fundraiser.”

This was the club’s 15th pancake breakfast, whose proceeds go to fund one of the club’s main missions of providing free eyeglasses and eye exams for those in need.

Paul Hart fries up the bacon and flips the pancakes.

In the kitchen of the elementary school were Joe Macri, Eugene Williams and Jack Hutchinson coming up with the right combination of ingredients for those pancakes.

Into a massive commercial food processor Williams poured in 12 cups of water, five pounds of prepared batter and just the right amount of vanilla extract.

Then he turned on the processor and timed it for five minutes.

By mid-morning he had used up 13 boxes of mix.

Nearby doing clean up duty — or as Hart liked to call it “expediting” — were Chesapeake School Superintendent Scott Howard and attorney Richard Meyers, momentarily getting dishpan hands from the washing.

On the menu, besides the cakes, were sausage links, bacon, milk, orange juice and coffee.

“Just an hour ago, every table here was filled,” Chesapeake Mayor Dick Gilpin said. Gilpin was this year’s breakfast committee chair.

The committee starts working on the breakfast about two months before.

“We do what we have to provide an event where people can come together,” Gilpin said. “And it is fellowship for our club.”

It’s a tradition for Kay Ransbottom of Chesapeake to come with her grandchildren, Dylan, 15, and Katie, 12, to the breakfast.

“They both started out right here at the school,” Ransbottom said.

“And this club is a great group.”