[Posted June 19, 2023; updated June 26 to include book donation dates]
After a three-year pandemic pause, the Hillsdale Business and Professional Association has announced the return of the annual Blueberry Pancake Breakfast, a 47-year Hillsdale summertime tradition. As it has so many times before (43 times, to be precise), this year’s event will transform the parking lot in front of Casa Colima restaurant into a lively community festival on Sunday, July 23. The annual Hillsdale Community Foundation Book Sale is back as well, happening the same day at The Watershed building, 6388 SW Capitol Hwy.
Members of the Hillsdale Business and Professional Association will serve up a full breakfast of freshly prepared blueberry pancakes, eggs, and sausages accompanied by fresh orange juice and hot coffee from 8:30am until noon. Admission for the all-you-can-eat breakfast is $8 for adults and $5 for children. With live music, info tables hosted by local civic organizations, a visit from Portland Fire and Rescue Station #5, cornhole and face painting, this year’s pancake breakfast promises to bring back the Hillsdale neighborhood vibe of family-friendly community fun.
From 9am to 1pm, a diverse selection of used books will be available for purchase a block away at The Watershed, with funds raised going to support initiatives of the Hillsdale Community Foundation. Keep an eye on the HCF website for details on volunteer opportunities and book donation stations at the Hillsdale Farmer’s Market on July 9 and 16. Volunteers are needed to collect and sort books in advance of the sale, as well as on the day of the event to set up and sell books.
Building Back, One Blueberry Pancake at a Time
2019's version of the breakfast attracted the largest turn-out ever, and then came the pandemic. 2023 should have marked the 47th occurrence of the event. Instead, thanks to three years of scrambling to meet new economic challenges and safety concerns, this year's breakfast will be the 44th annual.
For Jacquline Fitzgibbon and her family, this year’s Pancake Breakfast is a much-anticipated event. Fitzgibbon took over the Hillsdale State Farm Insurance office in early 2022, following the retirement of long-time owner Rick Hennessy. She could have relocated the office, but chose to keep it in Hillsdale, in part because of the pancake breakfast: “Events like this where the community comes together are one of my favorite things and show that Hillsdale is a special place.” Her six- and seven-year-olds are “super-psyched” for this year’s breakfast, and Fitzgibbon, as vice-president of the Hillsdale Business and Professional Association, was one of the first to raise her hand for the committee that makes it all happen.
Likewise, the annual book sale has been in snooze mode. This year’s organizers have high hopes that local readers will have plenty of books to donate to the cause after three years of pandemic-era book-buying. HCF board members Jessica Kaplan and Dick Hausken see this year’s sale as an opportunity to re-establish the book sale as a continuing tradition once again.
Book Donation Dates July 9: 9am–1pm (N. entrance to farmers market) July 10: 8am–12pm (Watershed building) July 12: 4pm–8pm (Watershed building) July 16: 9am–1pm (N. entrance to farmers market) July 17: 8am–12pm (Watershed building) July 19: 4pm-8pm (Watershed building) July 20: 8am–12pm (Watershed building)
Blueberries and Books Build Community
The Hillsdale Blueberry Pancake Breakfast was first conceived as a customer appreciation event in 1976 by Tony Scuito, the original owner of Hillsdale Shoe Repair (founded in 1954 and still in operation today under current owner Chris Kim). Hillsdale business owners have been flipping pancakes for customers in appreciation of their support and patronage ever since.
By 2019, the breakfast had become a full-fledged community festival with attendance topping 700 and more than 1,200 pancakes flipped.
Breakfast was just a dollar or two in the early days to cover costs, but as attendance grew, so did the ambitions of the menu and associated costs. The event got a major upgrade in the 90’s, when fresh orange juice and real maple syrup were added. Someone pointed out that everything’s better with blueberries, and blueberry pancakes became the new tradition.
“The Annual Hillsdale Community Pancake Breakfast is a longstanding, special way to show our community that we value and appreciate them and all the support they have given us over these difficult years. Seeing their smiling faces and mouths full of syrupy goodness is the icing on the cake for us! We never want them to think we have forgotten about them so making sure we can keep this event consistent is very important.” —Tina Donnaloia, Owner of Hoot-N-Annie Resale Boutique
The book sale arrived on the scene in 2006 with the establishment of the non-profit Hillsdale Community Foundation. To fund the HCF, volunteers began the Hillsdale Book Sale, selling thousands of books donated by the community. Over the years each sale has raised between $3000 and $5000 for the foundation, helping fund community events and improvements such as outdoor seating, public art, and the Josh Kadish Community Stage at the Hillsdale Food Park.
This year’s pancake breakfast is brought to you by the following:
Mark Reynolds, Edward Jones Financial Advisor
Mike Roach, Paloma Clothing
Bryan Ochoa, Casa Colima
Chris Reid, Wardin Properties
Patrick Newman, Basics Hillsdale
Jacquline Fitzgibbon, Hillsdale State Farm Insurance
"Outside of a dog, a pancake is humanity's best friend. Inside of a pancake, it's too yummy to read." Who said it? Let us know.