Olney Pancake Race 2015 - world's oldest pancake race
PUBLISHED: 15:26 13 February 2015 | UPDATED: 15:33 13 February 2015
Famous Buckinghamshire event has gone transatlantic and is now sponsored by Teflon
The annual Shrove Tuesday race is certain to attract huge crowds to Olney on 17 February. According to legend, the annual race first started there in 1445, when a busy housewife arrived in church on Shrove Tuesday still clutching her frying pan with a pancake still in it.
The Olney Pancake Race has been contested annually ever since. More recently in 1950, the Kansas town of Liberal in the USA challenged Olney to a trans-Atlantic contest after seeing photos of the race in a magazine. Open to ladies living in the town, the competitors, clad in traditional aprons and headscarves clutching their non-stick Teflon pancake pans, complete the 445 yard long dash from the church in around a minute. They must toss their homemade pancakes once at the start and again at the finish. A shriving service in the church after the race completes proceedings.
Last year’s winner of the Olney race and holder of the trans-Atlantic title Devon Byrne set the fastest time of 56 seconds. With Devon no longer able to compete, having won the race three times, incidentally in common with her mother Lesley before her, this year’s race will have the added excitement of a new winner. Experiencing a different kind of Shrove Tuesday this year, Devon and Lesley are guests of the community in Liberal at their pancake race which will be linked via webcam to Olney in the evening.
Shrove Tuesday in Olney will be as vibrant and action packed as ever, with the added attraction of children’s pancake races, entertainers and stalls. Celebrity chef Lesley Waters will also be participating once again, demonstrating some new pancake recipes in the Teflon Marquee in the Village Square in the morning. Following the main race, Lesley will host a Ready Steady Olney cook off between local chef’s John and Brendan from the Bell and Bear in Olney, with a final pancake tossing between them to finish. Lesley will round off the day with the presentation of prizes.
The race starts at 11:55am.