Come rain or shine, the St. Albert Gazette staff will once again be flipping flapjacks and sizzling sausages for the Rainmaker pancake breakfast this year.
The St. Albert Rainmaker is back in action with the Gazette-sponsored pancake breakfast kicking off on Saturday morning.
The free event runs from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and residents can get a hearty breakfast in front of St. Albert Place before the parade starts.
The event, which the Lions Club originally hosted, was taken over by the Gazette in 2010, and it will be the 12th year the newspaper serves up pancakes and sausages for the community.
"The pancake breakfast has been a fun way to kick off the rodeo for as long as I can remember," said Sarah Jamison, event co-organizer and vice-president of human resources for Great West Media, The Gazette's parent company.
The first year the Gazette took over the event, it snowed, Sarah Jamison said, and it was cold and wet, but the team of 15 to 20 volunteers still managed to serve around 500 people.
"In our busiest year, with great weather, we have served as many as 2,100 people," Sarah Jamison said.
The team goes through about 104 kilograms of pancake mix, 14 kilograms of juice mix, 3,000 sausages and about 1,000 cups of coffee to feed the thousands that line up for their breakfast.
Evan Jamison, Great West's vice-president of manufacturing and semi-professional pancake batter mixer, helps to make sure the Saturday cook-out proceeds smoothly and said preparing for the event is a daunting task.
"It's quite a project, but then once you start doing it, it's fun because you get to hang out with people… and they always are happy to come through and get their free pancake breakfast," Evan Jamison said.
Chatting with St. Albertans and being in the community is a highlight of the weekend for Evan Jamison.
"Especially in today's world, there are not nearly as many opportunities to engage with people," Evan Jamison said.
"People get the paper at their doorstep but don't know who the people are putting the paper together. So it's an opportunity to see who is behind the Gazette and putting the whole thing together."
Evan Jamison said he grew up going to the Rainmaker with his family, and it was the big St. Albert event of the summer, so he feels nostalgic during Rainmaker weekend in the city. As a kid, he loved the mud bogs and watching the rodeo events.
The Rainmaker Pancake Breakfast runs Saturday, May 27, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. in front of St. Albert Place and is followed by the parade.