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Fest in Mill Run to feature popular buckwheat recipe

Marilyn Forbes | For the Daily Courier
'Buckwheat Kings' Ray “Bugs” Orndorff (left) and Keith King have been preparing for the upcoming Buckwheatfest that will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 19, 2014 at the fire station in Mill Run. The event benefits the Springfield Township Volunteer Hose Company.

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“When you get those buckwheats from a box, they are made with wheat flour,” Springfield Township Volunteer Hose Company Vice President Keith King said of commercial buckwheat pancake mixes. “Ours are the real thing.”

The fire company will hold its first “Buckwheatfest” from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, but the department is well established as the place to go for “real” homemade buckwheat pancakes. Members have been serving them to the public once a month for years.

“We started back in 2002,” STVHC President Ray “Bugs” Orndorff said of the monthly buckwheat breakfast whose popularity sparked the idea of hosting a Buckwheatfest. “That is our biggest and most popular fundraiser.”

The Buckwheatfest will be held in place of the department's annual firemen's fair, a move suggested because of decreasing attendance and help for the fair.

“We thought we would try this, this year, to see how it does,” King said of the fest.

He explained that the annual fair, an event held for more than 50 years, was not doing as well as in the past. “It was just getting harder and harder. We weren't seeing the people, and it was hard to get people to volunteer.”

The fest will include a full day of the all-you-can-eat breakfast menu, which will include buckwheat and regular pancakes, sausage, home fries and beverage.

“We will also have regular stuff for the people who like fair food,” King said.

The additional food will be available at noon and include hamburgers and cheeseburgers, hot dogs, french fries, pizza, nachos, fired dough and ice cream. “We wanted to make sure that we had something that everyone would like.”

In addition, the fest will include games, raffles and door prizes, a 50/50 drawing and musical entertainment provided by “Oldies by Smokey.”

The monthly buckwheat breakfasts have proved to be a great success for the department, with King and Orndorff — known fondly as the “Buckwheat Kings” — hitting the griddle as they make their buckwheats from their secret recipe.

“We have it down to the second,” King said of the buckwheat starter preparation. “It's down to a science.”

The recipe was created by King and Orndorff who used their grandmothers' versions of the breakfast food.

“We used a little of both recipes, and we aren't telling you what's in it,” Orndorff laughed.

The monthly breakfasts, served from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. the third Saturday of every month from October through April, have enjoyed an increase in numbers.

“Anymore, we see 200 to 300 people every month,” King said.

People travel for the homemade delights, too.

“We get people from all over,” Orndorff said. “We get people from as far as Ohio and West Virginia.”

The volunteers are preparing to serve several hundred at their upcoming fest and hope to make the event an annual fundraiser. Proceeds will benefit the fire company.

“We hope to see a lot of people come out for this,” Orndorff said. “We are going to try it this year and see what happens.”

The Buckwheatfest will be held at the fire station, located at 755 Mill Run Road, Mill Run.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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