One of the things I love about living in a rural area is the sense of community. We know most everyone within a five-mile radius, and, truth be told, are related to a good portion of those people.
Because of this community, something happens here each spring that I'm pretty sure you wouldn't see in a city. It goes by a simple name, "Pancakes." Or sometimes "Wally's Pancakes" if there's a need to set it apart from the various church pancake feeds that happen this time of year as well.
Pancakes is a neighborhood gathering for the purpose of (Did you guess it?) eating pancakes. Wally sets up tables in his shop--I suppose he can seat about 75 people at a time--and has two griddles going to cook up nice, hot pancakes.
To complement the pancakes, there's applesauce and bars. (Are bars a Midwestern thing or a Lutheran thing?) The real stars of the show, though, are the sausage and the syrup. The sausage is homemade and smoked just a few feet away from the shop, and the syrup is real maple syrup, the 40-gallons-of-sap-for-one-gallon-of-syrup kind.
And if that isn't enough, there's popcorn popping and soft-serve ice cream with cones. My kids were pretty excited when we allowed them to have ice cream for breakfast.
A contingent of concertinas and accordions and a tuba entertains from the loft area, and I loved that my girls wanted to dance to the old-time music.
A free-will donation box is there to help defray costs of the meal, and I suspect that, like any donation like this, some people are stingy and others generous, and it probably comes out just right.
The highlight of the whole thing, though, is getting together and "visiting." At such a gathering, there's always someone we know well (my in-laws came just after we did), someone we don't know (but who often knows me, since I'm a transplant to this particular community), and someone we haven't seen for a while and finally have a chance to say hi.
Most of the township was there, including our former landlord, who's been known to trade two bottles of that good maple syrup for a few used & rinsed milk jugs. Besides the locals, there were a lot of people from "town," and even some from south of town, who drove quite a ways to eat those pancakes.
The pancake event isn't advertised, except by word of mouth, but it's a tradition many people around here look forward to. It's great to take the kids to events like this where they can learn to know our neighbors and be part of this community as well.