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BLOOMINGTON - At the annual Kiwanis Club Pancake Days on Saturday morning, Ginny Solorzano mixed a creamy paste that looked too thick and too yellow to be pancake batter.

That's because it was for the birds.

Solorzano, a camp counselor at Camp Limberlost last year, hugged and greeted former campers who arrived at Bloomington's Interstate Center for the breakfast, which continues today. In addition to eating, the kids also made bird feeders out of seeds, pinecones and Solorzano's gooey mixture.

Since 1940, the Bloomington Kiwanis Club has been sending children to Camp Limberlost at Lake Bloomington, and pancake days has helped cover the cost since 1951.

"Working with the kids is a great experience," said Solorzano, an Illinois State University junior.

The camp is for children who wouldn't have the opportunity to go to camp otherwise, said Byron Blotch of Normal, co-chair of the breakfast event.

And it was popular. By about 10 a.m. there was such a flood of diners, some people had to wait in line outside in the cold for a short period.

Usually about 3,000 people are served and 20,000 pancakes are flipped, said Kiwanian Barry Weer.

Darlene and Michael Brooks of Bloomington, foster parents to 26 children over 16 years before retiring, waited in line with two of their children. They've sent four kids to Camp Limberlost over the years.

"They love it and want to go back," Darlene said.

Their son, Jordan Brooks, 12, said he liked shooting targets and the arts and crafts.

New to the breakfast this year were the crafts for former campers.

Solorzano and other camp counselors helped the kids make bird feeders, friendship bracelets, and "camp buddies" - little characters of beads and other items worn on a pin.

They gathered together in the pancake dining room to take part in games and activities, usually after eating breakfast.

After all, the pancakes and sausage are really what it's all about, said some of those attending.

"It's always been a good feed," said Richard Bland of Hudson. He attends for the good breakfast and the little road trip involved.

In addition to the food and fun, political candidates had displays, costumed characters visited children, and other groups provided information.


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