As usual, the World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast on Aug. 21, in the downtown will feature plenty of food for the thousands of attendees, but this year adds a new offering: free COVID-19 vaccines.
Baystate Health and Caring Health Center, with support from the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services, will be providing the vaccines at Monarch Place and Court Square.
The annual breakfast presented by Spirit of Springfield was cancelled in 2020, and postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The breakfast is from 8 to 11 a.m., with long tables placed down the middle of Main Street. The cost is $3 for adults and free for children.
Baystate Health, In partnership with Health New England and Monarch Place, will provide the vaccines in front of Monarch Place. They will have both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Individuals who get vaccinated will receive a goody bag, including two park tickets to Six Flags New England (to be used during 2021 season while supplies last), Spirit of Springfield said.
Caring Health Center will offer Moderna and Pfizer vaccines at Court Square, and have $25 gift cards to Big Y World Class Markets, Stop & Shop, or Walgreens, for those who receive the vaccine.
The event includes entertainment and activities at Court Square, Monarch Place and the entertainment stage at Bruce Landon Way.
At Monarch Place, there will be Dr. Seuss storytelling, arts and crafts with the Springfield Museums, a Cat in the Hat cutout, and Six Flags New England costumed characters, according to Spirit of Springfield. Springfield Thunderbirds’ mascot, Boomer, will also be greeting people along Main Street.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni will serve as honorary chairman of the pancake breakfast.
“Growing up in Springfield, I have fond memories of attending the World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast with my dad,” Gulluni said in a prepared release on Thursday. “It is an honor to be named Honorary Chair and be a part of this year’s breakfast, especially as it returns to downtown Springfield after the pandemic. I hope many families from the region create their own memories and join me at the famous World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast in downtown Springfield on August 21st.”
The breakfast is provided with support from MGM Springfield and many areas businesses, said Judith Matt, president of Spirit of Springfield.
The breakfast includes plenty of pancakes, butter, syrup, bacon, milk, juice, coffee, and water, Matt said.
The wait for the breakfast is more than two years due to the pandemic, Matt said.
“We have received an overwhelming response from sponsors, donors, and volunteers,” Matt said. “It is clear that the community is eager to celebrate and come together for the World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast.”
A speaking program at 9:30 a.m. will include Gulluni, Matt, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, and Suzanne from Mix-93.1 FM and other guests.
The Springfield Police and Fire Departments will have equipment and K-9 officers to interact with attendees, and the Massachusetts Army National Guard will have equipment and giveaways, officials said.
“MGM has been a proud supporter of the Spirit of Springfield since the day we arrived,” said Chris Kelley, president and chief operating officer of MGM Springfield. “For decades, the Spirit of Springfield has brought the community together with iconic events like the Parade of Big Balloons, Bright Nights at Forest Park, and the 4th of July Star Spangled Springfield.”
MGM “is thrilled to be part of the return” of the pancake breakfast, he said.
Sarno joined in saying he was thrilled by the event’s return.
“The pancake breakfast has become a favorite Springfield tradition and also draws thousands of people from throughout the region to our downtown,” Sarno said. “We can now safely come together to celebrate after much hard work and patience over the last year. I look forward to the scent of maple syrup in the air seeing bright smiles throughout our downtown Springfield once again.”
Hundreds of volunteers will be present to cook, serve, sell tickets and keep tables clean, Spirit of Springfield said.
Businesses and organizations supporting the pancake breakfast include Baystate Health, Bimbo Bakeries/ Entenmanns, Cabot Creamery, Costco, Elegant Affairs, Gleason Johndrow Landscaping, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, H.P. Hood, Mansfield Paper Company, MassMutual Center, Mercy Medical Center, MGM Springfield, Performance Foodservice, Quality Beverage, Republic Services, Sheraton Springfield, Smithfield Packaged Meats, Springfield Business Improvement District, Springfield Parking Authority, as well as the Springfield Police, Fire, Parks, and Public Works Departments, said Spirit of Springfield.