By Eli Natinsky
IABCLA Vice President
She accomplished the feat in her current role as tourism director of PACT (Promoting Appanoose & Centerville Together), and it took place during Pancake Day in September in Centerville, Iowa. More than 14,000 flapjacks were served to the town’s hungry residents, setting a new all-time mark. The event garnered national press, as NPR broadcast a story.
IABCLA was curious how it all came about, so we asked Delaney for the details.
IABCLA: How was the idea to break the record conceived?
Delaney: A couple months ago I started getting tagged in an article that featured the previous record holder’s attempt. Pancake Day has been celebrated in our community for more than 70 years, so many people thought we should hold the record.
IABCLA: How did you organize the festivities?
Delaney: I reached out to Guinness and they gave me a VERY detailed checklist of what would be required for an official record attempt. This required an adjudicator on-site at the event and about 15 different pieces of evidence. In terms of the actual attempt, we’ve always served a ton of pancakes on Pancake Day so that wasn’t a huge issue for us. We just had to round up more volunteers than usual and adjust the way we served a bit to satisfy the Guinness requirements.
IABCLA: What was involved in garnering media coverage?
Delaney: One of the most exciting things about our record attempt was how the press coverage kind of snowballed, especially post-event. I sent out an initial round of press releases to our local Iowa news stations and newspapers, who picked up the story (The Des Moines Register, KCCI, etc), but then once we successfully broke the record the word of mouth and our social media definitely helped. In our partnership with Guinness, we weren’t authorized to have paid social or print ads, so the word of mouth was essential. Even though Centerville is a small Midwest community, we have a very broad reach! A producer from NPR was sent an article from UPI’s “Odd News” section and reached out to me from there. I had to do the interview from the back of my grandparents’ car because I had to catch a flight just an hour after the interview ended!
IABCLA: Might the publicity bring more visitors to the area?
Delaney: This project was such a positive experience for our community that we’re expecting next year’s Pancake Day festivities to be even bigger, but we’re also going to utilize the press we received for year-round tourism opportunities.
Once again kudos to Delaney on accomplishing the feat! We look forward to sharing more of her successes in the future.
On a final note, Delaney wasn’t the only one with an IABCLA connection to take part in the world record.
Jenny Matkovich, our chapter president, served griddle cakes to guests. It was a homecoming for Jenny — like Delaney, she grew up in Centerville.