In light of the Boy Scouts of America's recent actions confirming its anti-gay policy, Troop 33's decades-old Annual Pancake Supper on Saturday took a break from its usual fall theme to declare its position on the issue.
The tablecloths, the cooks' bandanas, the flowers, the tickets, the signs and more — all portrayed a rainbow.
"We really wanted to come out very strongly about what side this troop is on," said Carol Clayton, the supper's cooking director and food buyer as well as the mom of a Troop 33 Boy Scout, who called the national organization "wrong-headed."
Clayton, who played a major role in the development of the rainbow theme,said the organization's confirmation of its policy and decision to deny a California Boy Scout the Eagle Scout award because of his sexual orientation triggered the rainbow response from the troop.
"People assume that we're as narrow-minded as the rest of the Boy Scout leadership," said Bethany Karn of Takoma Park, the event's florist and the mom of another Boy Scout.
The supper's attendees, which included Takoma Park area residents and former Boy Scouts and their families, got their fill of pancakes and sausages as they sat at tables in the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church that ran the full color spectrum from red to violet.
"The tables made a rainbow flag," said Clayton of Takoma Park,.
Karn, a floral designer for Park Florist in Takoma Park, created roughly 30 floral arrangements for the event, coordinating each one with a tablecloth's color.
"It's my favorite, favorite thing to decorate," said Karn of the event, which she described as "family oriented" with "plenty of room for the kids to work off that maple-syrup energy."
Jennifer Shields of Takoma Park, the event's organizer, said the supper — which serves as the troop's main fundraising event — brought in more than 500 people and raised more than 5,000 dollars.
The money raised will go towards equipment such as tents and sleeping bags, maintenance of a West Virginia property, financial support for families of the Scouts, and camp scholarships for the boys.
Shields described the 25 to 30 Boys Scouts who participated in the supper, especially those who waited on tables, as "earnest" and "excited."
Scouts also helped out by selling tickets, cutting sausages, doing the dishes and greeting and seating the attendees.
Jacob Harris, 16, an Eagle Scout and Shields' son, said this year's Pancake Supper was his sixth.
As one of the older Boy Scouts, he received a coveted position: dishwasher.
"We can talk and be loud and spray each other with water," Harris said.
At any given time, Clayton said, there were 56 to 68 pancakes being cooked by the Boy Scouts' parents and former Scout Joel Quillen.
"We have fun in the kitchen, there's a lot of banter, but not a lot of down time," Clayton said.
"Gallons of syrup" and "pounds of butter" were available to adorn the thousands of pancakes produced, as well as 150 lbs of sausage.
"They [the tables] stayed full a lot of the time," she said.
Shields said the event is said to go back as far as the 1920s.
"I think it's such a sweet, simple ritual for our community," she said.
The troop's scoutmaster Dave Lanar, who said he went around the room eating pancakes and sausages with various people and got "pretty full," said people come to the event to eat as well as sit and talk with their friends and neighbors.
"It was a really happy event," he said.