It’s possible that the Rotary Club of Wellesley will still have its 56th annual Pancake Festival this year, but it looks as though it won’t be on Wellesley’s Wonderful Weekend in May like it usually is. As the Townsman reported earlier this week, the Rotary is no longer partnering with Wellesley Little League to sell tickets for the event, which raised funds both for the league and the Rotary’s various community programs.
Traditionally, Wellesley Little League players have sold tickets door to door and in front of local stores. I have fond memories of watching kids on teams I coached ambush Roche Bros. shoppers entering and leaving the grocery store. We also learned over the years to show up really early or really late for the event in order to avoid long lines.
“Wellesley Little League had a tremendous run with the Rotary and the pancake festival,” says Steve Wiviott, on behalf of the WLL board. “But in the past few years, ticket sales have been harder to organize and WLL is now looking at some other community-oriented fundraising ideas that will engage more of our young ball players. We’re also exploring ways to include more Wellesley residents through additional partnerships with community-focused organizations.”
John Adams, immediate past president of the Wellesley Rotary, acknowledged that sales of tickets and net revenue had been on the decline for the past 6 years. “We were sorry to see the Little League pull out last December, but they were fighting the changing demographics, declining sign-ups, and families being too busy in general,” he says.
Last year, the Rotary actually referred to the event as the Breakfast Festival, rather than the Pancake Festival, to reflect a broadened menu.
As for this year, the Rotary isn’t giving up hope of running a pancake festival in the fall, possibly by partnering with other sports programs in town.