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The Mackinac Boat Race and Rotary Pancake Breakfast - Make It Your Family Summertime Tradition!



The Rotary Club of Sarnia is gearing up for the much-anticipated Mackinac Pancake Breakfast, a fantastic annual event that brings together locals and visitors alike. Set against the picturesque backdrop of Point Edward's Waterfront Park, beneath the majestic Bluewater Bridges, this year's breakfast will take place on July 15th, 2023, from 7 am to 11 am.

With a limited number of 2000 tickets available for purchase, attendees can secure their spots early to avoid long lines. Tickets are priced at $10 for adults, $5 for children, and $30 for a family (2 adults + children). Express tickets can be obtained from various locations, including Manley's Basics, Pathways Health Centre for Children, The Inn of The Good Shepherd, Degroot's Nurseries, or any Rotary member.

This year one of the event organizers, Johnna Johansen, put a light on what it takes to put on an event of this size. The primary purpose of this event is to raise funds for local community projects, especially pertaining to children and youth. The Rotary Foundation distributes up to $50,000 twice a year through Rotary Club of Sarnia Action Grants, enabling community groups to apply for funding to support their special projects. The Mackinac Pancake Breakfast alone generates approximately $10,000 each year, contributing significantly to this initiative. Other annual donations go to the Lambton County Music Festival, The Lambton County Science Fair and The YMCA Celebration of Youth.


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As the crowds gather to witness the thrilling sailboat races, the Rotary Club takes on the responsibility of serving breakfast to the hungry crowds. Making an event of this scale possible, requires the dedication of nearly 100 volunteers, including Rotarians, their friends, families, and high school students seeking volunteer hours.

The breakfast menu comprises three pancakes, two sausages, and a choice of coffee or juice. McDonald's generously donates all the coffee for the event. This year, the organizers are committed to continue to adopt eco-friendly practices. They have transitioned to paper plates and encourage attendees to bring their own plates for an even greener approach. Additionally, visitors can bring their own water bottles, and the organizers will provide water to drink. Rotarians have been collecting cutlery at garage sales and now have 1000 sets of stainless steel sets of utensils available to be used year after year. To ensure convenience, a rinse station is available, so attendees need not take home sticky syrup-covered dishes.

For those arriving on bicycles, a designated bike corral will be monitored by volunteers to ensure the safety of parked bikes while guests enjoy their breakfasts.

Stepping into the ‘kitchen’ so to say, reveals a well-coordinated team effort. Cookers prepare sausages, while mixers operate an industrial-sized mixer to blend the batter, captivating onlookers. Grillers and pourers work in tandem to produce 21 pancakes per grill, keeping them warm in cambros before passing them on to the platers. The platers expertly assemble the meals, which are then served by a team of efficient servers, ensuring each guest is promptly provided with their delicious breakfast.


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As you join the line to obtain your breakfast, you will likely encounter familiar faces and have the opportunity to catch up with friends and neighbours. Guests can choose to enjoy their meal under the large tent or bring their own lawn chairs to savour their breakfast while admiring the graceful sailboats gliding by. The Mackinac Pancake Breakfast has become a cherished tradition for many families in the community.

Parking is plentiful around the park, ensuring convenience for all attendees. Moreover, the stunning surroundings of Lake Huron and the St. Clair River offer breathtaking views and tranquility throughout the year. Whether it's race day or any other day, residents and visitors can relish the beauty of the area by taking leisurely strolls, or finding a seat on a bench, perhaps even bringing their own comfortable chairs to witness the vibrant happenings beneath the iconic Bluewater Bridges.

Johnna, organizing team member and volunteer, expressed her joy in witnessing everyone enjoying themselves and the heartwarming feedback all of the volunteers receive from the community each year. The event serves as a reminder of the strong bonds within the community and the appreciation for each volunteers' hard work.

While indulging in the festivities, attendees are encouraged to express their gratitude to these exceptional volunteers through handshakes and heartfelt thank-yous.

For those interested in learning more about the grants offered by the Rotary Club, the official website www.rotarysarnia.com provides information. It's worth noting that all groups, not just traditional organizations, are eligible to apply. The Rotary Club of Sarnia considers the number of people the funded projects will impact when selecting grant recipients. In the past, grants have been awarded to support bike programs and summer camps for underprivileged children and youth, Little Free Libraries through Lambton Literacy along with many other community projects. If you have an idea that can positively impact the lives of the youth in the community, the Rotary Club of Sarnia eagerly awaits your suggestions.

Take the opportunity to get involved by volunteering or becoming a Rotary member. With three Rotary Clubs in Sarnia, you can choose the one that best fits your schedule—breakfast, lunch, or after-work meetings. Joining a Rotary Club allows you to actively contribute to the community's well-being.


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The joy of observing sailboats gliding along the shores of Lake Huron and the St. Clair River is a timeless experience. The refreshing lake breezes, the sight of billowing sails, and the soothing sounds of crashing waves create a captivating ambiance that never fails to amaze.

Living in this remarkable community, one can enjoy the breathtaking scenery at any time, not just during race day. Whether it's taking a leisurely stroll, parking by the shore, or relaxing on a bench, you can bring your own comfortable chair and immerse yourself in the vibrant happenings beneath the Bluewater Bridges.

Engage in people-watching and revel in the knowledge that our community thrives due to the kindness of its residents and the unwavering support of local businesses. Nestled along the sandy shores of Lake Huron and the St. Clair River, our community stands as a beacon of positivity—a true breath of fresh air.

Come and experience the Mackinac Pancake Breakfast, a delightful event that brings together community, delicious food, and the beauty of our surroundings.


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