Crowds chow down at Turtle Pancake Feed

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  • Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Beloiters Elise Grunder and Kendell, 1, enjoy some pancakes during the Town of Turtle Fire Department's Pancake Feed on Saturday. Snow showers didn't slow down the crowds for the department's annual fundraiser.

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    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Firefighter Dan Atkinson spent Saturday flipping pancakes during the Town of Turtle's Pancake Feed. Atkinson has been flipping the pancakes for 38 years and estimated that he'd help make at least 5,000 for the hungry crowds.

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    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Large crowds turned out for the annual Turtle Fire Department Pancake Feed on Saturday.

  • Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Beloiters Elise Grunder and Kendell, 1, enjoy some pancakes during the Town of Turtle Fire Department's Pancake Feed on Saturday. Snow showers didn't slow down the crowds for the department's annual fundraiser.

  • 1

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Firefighter Dan Atkinson spent Saturday flipping pancakes during the Town of Turtle's Pancake Feed. Atkinson has been flipping the pancakes for 38 years and estimated that he'd help make at least 5,000 for the hungry crowds.

  • 2

    Erica Pennington/Beloit Daily News Large crowds turned out for the annual Turtle Fire Department Pancake Feed on Saturday.

TOWN OF TURTLE - Snow showers and slightly-slippery roads didn't keep crowds away from their pancakes on Saturday.

The 63rd annual Turtle Fire Department Pancake Feed saw a steady stream of hungry visitors at the Turtle Community Center throughout the day. All were eager to enjoy a hearty meal, socialize and help the volunteer fire department purchase new gear.

On the menu were pancakes, sausage, applesauce, milk, coffee and cookies from Old Fashion Bakery.

"This fundraiser is how the fire department can raise money for gear," said longtime volunteer Jeri Crouse.

Crouse, who served as a member of the fire department for 21 years, has helped sell tickets to the event for many years.

He said Saturday's crowd was strong and steady, and he was hoping to see nearly 2,000 people walk through the door.

Luckily, by the end of the day that goal was surpassed, with 2,092 meals being served.

"Snow won't stop anybody from coming, especially in this township," he said.

In the kitchen, firefighter Dan Atkinson was working the griddle and flipping pancakes for his 38th year at the event.

He estimated that he would help the volunteer crew make at least 5,000 pancakes throughout the day.

"It feels so good to have the community come out and support us," Atkinson said.

Turtle Fire Chief Tim Huffman said the Pancake Feed is an event the entire department looks forward to each year.

About 60 people volunteer to help make the event a success. Many of the helpers are the friends and family of the department's 18 firefighters, or have actually served on the department in the past and want to keep helping out, he said.

"The Pancake Feed is a tradition and people always look forward to the second Saturday of February," Huffman said.

Proceeds from this year's event will be used to help the department purchase a UTV, which is a special emergency response vehicle that can be used to help reach people when fire engines or ambulances cannot access the scene of an accident, for example.

With major road construction coming on Interstate 39/90 in the near future, Huffman said getting the UTV is an important step.

"The UTV is able to fit through so we can get to the scene and get the person back to the ambulance," Huffman said.

Huffman estimated that the UTV would cost somewhere between $12,000-$14,000, and the community has been very supportive.

"Everybody from the township, and even some from as far as Milwaukee, have come to help us out," Huffman said.

In addition to the Pancake Feed's many attendees, supporters of the cause included: Culver's of Beloit, Old Fashion Bakery, Magic Construction, Starbucks, Twin Cities Pack, Rock Disposal, McGilvra Electric, Gonstead Clinic, Chuck Wollslair family, Eric Johnson family, Jon and Jane Lang, Tim Kopp family, Larry Niquet, Rodger Anclam family and Lamar Outdoor Advertising.

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