Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

September 20, 2011

Famous flippers and memorable marshals

CENTERVILLE — Pancake Day has always been a favorite celebration for politicians. Throughout the years, the Iowa governor has always been invited to attend Pancake Day, and many would then serve as the Parade Marshal during the Big Parade. In the early 1950s, Gov. William S. Beardsley attended and in the mid-1950s, Gov. Leo Heogh attended.

In 1956, Gov. Heogh arrived on the Square via helicopter, which provided political fodder for his opponent that year, Hershel Loveless, to criticize him. The Pancake Day Committee was quick to take responsibility for the helicopter ride, but Loveless used it to criticize Heogh, nonetheless. Loveless was the next governor, and he continued the tradition of visiting Pancake Day in the late 1950s.

In 1961, Gov. Norman Erbe attended the festivities, then in the mid-1960s, Gov. Harold Hughes came to town. Gov. Robert Ray was a favorite during the 1970s, and later, Gov. Terry Branstad found his way to Centerville a few times for Pancake Day. In 2001, Gov. Tom Vilsack from Mt. Pleasant was on hand.

Other politicians have also visited Pancake Day, sometimes making a few waves. In 1952, Estes Kefauver, the famous Democratic Tennessee senator who made a name for himself for attacking organized crime and campaigning often in a coonskin cap, was on hand to make a rousing political speech, as was Republican Dewey Short of Missouri. Kefauver had just lost his party’s nomination for president, so while at Pancake Day, he flipped a few pancakes and announced his endorsement of Adlai Stevenson. He would later go on to be Adlai Stevenson’s running mate in 1956, though they lost by a landslide to Eisenhower.

The New York Times reported on Sept. 25, 1964, “In this Republican town that looks as if it were designed by Norman Rockwell, W. Averell Harriman, sheepishly, and Mrs. Hubert Humphrey, expertly, flipped political pancakes.” Mrs. Humphrey was the wife of the democratic candidate for president, Hubert Humphrey, and W. Averell Harriman was the Under Secretary of State.

But not all of Pancake Day’s famous visitors were politicians. Several notable personalities have been parade marshals over the years, including J.C. Penny in 1961, boxer Rocky Marciano in 1965, Mike Lozano from WHO-TV in Des Moines in 1983, “Iowa Boy” Chuck Offenburger in 1986, and hometown success stories Simon Estes in 1997 and Morgan Cline in 2000.

Some lesser known, but notable visitors included Phillip Pillsbury of the Pillsbury Company, was here in 1962 to witness first-hand where all of the donated pancake flour was used. Taking a turn at flipping a few pancakes, he proved himself to be a better businessman than chef. He burnt the pancakes so badly they couldn’t be eaten.  In 1958, the first runner-up in the Miss America pageant, Joanne McDonald was on hand, and in 1959, Mrs. America Margaret Priebe, and National Baton Twirling Champion, Joyce Rice came for the day.

Another famous visitor that came in 2001 and 2002 was not a person, but a car. Rubbermaid Home Products brought in one of the actual race car driven by Kurt Busch in the Nascar Winston Cup Series. While in Centerville, it was on standby in case it needed to replace the car being used in the Nascar race that same weekend at the Kansas Speedway. The car was driven around the square prior to the parade, because the engines weren’t designed to go at the slower pace of the parade and would overheat.

Who knows who you might see at Pancake Day? Keep your eyes open – you might see someone famous!

Text Only
Local News
  • Annual student art exhibition at the Indian Hills Community college OTTUMWA -- It's been a busy year in the art department at Indian Hills Community College and the students are ready to show off their work. The Annual Indian Hills Student Art Exhibition will open on Monday, April 28 at 7 p.m. with a public reception

    April 24, 2014

  • 042414 Cline Photo Morgan E. Cline Noted philanthropist, entrepreneur, advertising executive and real estate preservationist Morgan E. Cline, 81, of Middletown Township, N.J. passed away unexpectedly on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014, at his home. He was surrounded by the love and comf

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple nibbles, but no bite The Appanoose County Board of Supervisor's Chairman Dean Kaster Tuesday afternoon said the board wants to make an appointment to fill the county attorney office vacancy within the 40 day state-mandated timeframe. State code allows a board of supervis

    April 24, 2014

  • A.C. history by Enfys McMurry April 24, 1942: In World War II, Charles DePuy at the Iowegian began a new column, called "Columns Write." "It will be dedicated," he wrote on April 24 (the first day), "to the men at the front ... a sort of central exchange for news from the home fo

    April 24, 2014

  • Earth Day activities at Morgan E. Cline City Park Kids will get to learn about guerrilla gardening with seed bombs and making recycled art during Earth Day activities at the Morgan E. Cline City Park in Centerville on Saturday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to noon. Appanoose Ecovision is sponsoring the free

    April 23, 2014

  • Drug take back set for Saturday, April 26 On April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Appanoose County sheriff and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public its eighth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired

    April 23, 2014

  • A.C. history by Enfys McMurry April 23, 1922: Seven days after its installation, WDAX joined with The Centerville Journal for a broadcast concert featuring all-local artists. More than 1,000 people packed 12th Street from Maple to the Square. They watched Jack Porter operating h

    April 23, 2014

  • 042314 CCC Meeting Photo 2 Council moves to vacate land The Centerville City Council at City Hall Monday voted to move forward with the process to vacate a tree-filled ravine located between North Fifth Street and West Maple Street, or Highway 2 that was originally platted to be a continuation of West Jac

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Blood drive seeks donors The next Centerville Community Blood Drive will be held Tuesday, May 6 from 12-6 p.m. at Grace Tabernacle Church, 914 N. Park St. in Centerville. Anyone interested in donating can schedule an appointment online at or by call

    April 23, 2014

  • Monthly immunization clinic is on Tuesday The regular monthly immunization clinic will be held Tuesday, April 29 from 1-4 p.m. by appointment only at the Appanoose County Public Health Office at 209 E. Jackson St. in Centerville. Childhood immunizations available include DTaP, Polio, MMR, Va

    April 23, 2014

  • Healthy Appanoose: Week 15 The 15th week of the Healthy Appanoose Challenges are printed below. The free program can be joined anytime throughout the year. Log in at the Centerville-Rathbun Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at to record challenges completed.

    April 22, 2014

  • Waterworks to proceed with project The Centerville Municipal Waterworks Board of Trustees during their March 27 meeting approved a resolution that orders bids, approves plans, specifications and form of contract for the 2013 water system improvements project associated with the street

    April 22, 2014

  • A.C. history by Enfys McMurry April 22, 1910: This was the day when the Interurban service between Centerville and Mystic began with a special dedication run. On board were the 165 bond subscribers in Centerville and Mystic who had made the Interurban possible. Among the group we

    April 22, 2014

  • Moravia mayor signs proclamation Moravia's mayor signed a proclamation at the Tuesday, April 8 City Council regular meeting declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Mayor Irene Brooks talked about the many ways sexual assaults can affect people everywhere. The council made

    April 22, 2014

  • Audit exposes deficiencies The Centerville Municipal Waterworks had double-digit increases in both receipts and disbursements for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013, according to an audit released recently by Des Moines-based CPA firm Faller, Kincheloe & Co. PLC. The aud

    April 22, 2014

Featured Ads

The Iowegian wants readers to think about building code compliance. One Centerville resident at Monday's City Council meeting proposed the city create two new positions in the police department to only deal with minimum housing and nuisance abatement issues. The city currently has George Johnson as the only employee assigned to enforce building code compliance issues. Does Centerville need more than just Johnson to enforce code compliance issues? So, the question of the week is, "Should Centerville hire additional help to assist George Johnson enforce building code compliance issues?"

A. Yes
B. No
C. Not sure
     View Results
Iowegian on Facebook