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Virginia Leete To Be Honored At Pancake Day Festivities

KSCB News - March 7, 2011 2:37 pm

Liberal, Kans.— Pancake Day co-founder Virginia Leete, who died Sept. 20, will be honored with a video tribute at tonight’s talent show, and several of her children will serve as grand marshals for the Pancake Day parade Tuesday afternoon.
Virginia Leete was an integral part of Liberal’s Pancake Day since its inception in 1950. She flipped pancakes during an entire episode of the Mike Douglas talk show in the 1970s. She was the subject of an iconic photo, falling in the snow and exposing the top of her stocking, as she practiced for a race in the 1950s. She ran in the Liberal race; she ran in the Olney race.
Quite simply, without Virginia Leete, there would be no Liberal International Pancake Day.
Her husband, R. J., as Jaycees president in 1950 came up with idea to challenge the Olney women to compete against the Liberal women, but in the Leete household, Pancake Day was always a package deal.
Virginia and the other Jaycee wives ran in the first race, and Virginia tirelessly promoted Pancake Day as a board member for decades. She also put together gigantic scrapbooks each year documenting every letter, every press clip, every photo.
Though she had not served on the Pancake Day board for a number of years, Virginia remained an important part of the celebration each year, attending most of the events, cracking up reporters with her witty comments, and cheering on current Pancake Day participants.
A video tribute compiled by Leete family members will play during intermission at tonight’s talent show. Folks can also view the tribute at Tuesday’s Pancake Day breakfast as they wait in line, and Virginia’s contributions to Pancake Day will be recognized during the 7:30 a.m. breakfast program. The last event of the day, the Pancake Day Parade, will be headed up by several of R. J. and Virginia’s children, who will serve as grand marshals.
Tonight’s Talent Show is set for 7:30 p.m. in the James Maskus Auditorium at Liberal High School. Tickets may be purchased in advance for $7 today at the Hall of Fame, 4th and Lincoln, until noon. Tickets will be for sale at the door for $10. The Pancake Day breakfast is from 6-10 a.m. tomorrow at the Seward County Event Center. Admission is a breakfast button, which may be purchased for $3. The parade will begin at 3 p.m. at Kansas Ave. and Eleventh St. For more information on any Pancake Day event, call Jo Ann Combs at 624-6423.


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