July 4th Pancake Breakfast Coming to an End After 18 Years

The long march of the Home parade goes on, but the pancakes waiting at the end of A Street may not be there after this year.


The unadvertised and unorganized 4th of July parade on A Street in Home has been an open secret for more than 20 years. In its infancy, the paraders were mostly children on bicycles, dog walkers, and riders on lawnmowers draped in American flags. Nowadays, the parade is made up of firetrucks, classic cars, family bands, and the occasional goat, dog, or donkey.

At the end of the parade route, the far end of A Street, an evolving group of neighbors set up canopies and grills and served pancakes and orange juice to one and all. There was no charge or donation. Friends and neighbors gathered to spend some time together, hug those not seen for an entire year, and make plans for the day.

One change the group noted in the last few years is fewer people walking and stopping to talk at the breakfast site. There are many more vehicles in the parade, and they tend to continue driving on.

Brothers Gerald and Garry Schneider, along with Paul Gruver, are the team that created this grand finale scene for the last 18 years. All three of the founding members are retired military officers. They plan, keep meticulous records, and share the costs and labor. “We are all uber planners,” Gerald said. The three are joined by spouses, family members, and a few other neighbors to assist at the time of the event, ensuring that pancakes are fresh and served efficiently.

The parade has grown, especially since the COVID years, and Team Pancake organizer Gruver estimated they served over 325 meals in 2023. The servers wear specially designed aprons for the event. The goal is to serve food as fresh, tasty, and fun as possible.

Margaret and Alan Golston joined the team about 10 years ago. Alan was assigned to the pancake flipping table. Gruver’s mother, Maruth, ran quality control.

“She was exacting and insisted I learn the proper technique,” Alan said.

Maruth was flipping pancakes until her passing just before the 2023 event. “Her apron is retired,” Gruver said.

The group has created and printed stickers to give away with meals for the last four years, with the hopes that the “stickers will end up on water bottles or car windows and remind our neighbors of one happy event... where there were no political parties or arguments, in a place where the whole point is to say hello, catch up on the latest gossip, and laugh with a mouthful of sweet and savory breakfast without judgment,” Gruver said.

Comradery and fun are foremost for Team Pancake. “The level of kibitzing is unreal,” Garry said. “God forbid one of your pancakes is burnt because you are going to suffer like being attacked on some celebrity cooking show.”

For his brother Gerald, the parade is all about the children, those watching and those walking.

“These are the best pancakes I’ve ever had in my life!” said one kid to Gerald. “I look forward to it every year,” said another.

“The pancakes are made with love,” Gerald said. “We’ve gotten to know the people in the community. This is a point of recognition. It’s an opportunity to come together every year on our nation’s anniversary. It’s harder to dislike a stranger when you find common ground.”

Despite all the years of enjoyment and goodwill, the group said this may be the last year for Team Pancake. The group is feeling some of the effects of aging combined with changes in families, and the addition of grandchildren.

“There is a special sense of community in Home, and it was wonderful being part of something that added to that spirit,” Garry said.

“Our goal has always been to have this event remain free, easy, and without ties to any organization of any kind, so there is nothing other than the idea of having breakfast with your neighbors on a beautiful summer morning,” Gruver said. “It is difficult to convey how hard it is to give up this thing. It is just my baby, and I’ve loved it. The motivation and fire came from me. But everyone wants to scale back a bit.”

Team Pancake hopes the community will find a way to step up and continue the tradition. They are all willing to mentor a new team and provide support for a handoff to a new group. They have set up an email dedicated to responses to the call for help at Home4thpancakes@gmail.com.