More than 150 people turned out for the first Springfield Grange breakfast Saturday morning, so many that the grangers ran out of sausage and had to twice run to the store for more pancake mix.
"It exceeded expectations," Springfield Grange President Alan Hicks said.
Hicks and a handful of locals got together last summer to breath new life into the grange, a long-shuttered building south of Watsonville at the corner of Elkhorn and Hall roads, with the intention of building relationships and creating a community gathering place.
The Springfield Grange was founded in 1933 during a meeting in the auditorium of what is now Pajaro Middle School. The white clapboard building that is the Grange was built in 1952. That building, in Las Lomas, was about to be sold off when Hicks stepped in to revitalize the organization.
Saturday was like a coming-out party.
Grangers served whole-grain pancakes, organic eggs and a fruit salad made of local, organic produce. There was sausage—until it ran out, due do popularity—and coffee, orange juice and tea. Granger Dvera Saxton, who spent the morning cooking scrambled eggs with onions and greens, also made jars of homemade syrup for the pancakes.
It was a festive affair. Families packed around the tables, adorned with bright clothes, fat bouquets of yellow daffodils and crayons for the kids. Children ran through the old wooden building and, when seating got scarce, some sat on the straight-backed wooden benches that run along the walls to eat their breakfasts.
State Assemblymen Luis Alejo and Bill Monning made appearances, and Watsonville City Council Member Lowell Hurst—a granger himself—was wearing an apron and hard at work.
There was dancing and live music.
Local filmmakers Consuelo Alba and John Speyer of Veremos Productions, who are grangers themselves, came to enjoy the community spirit. Alba said they were early supporters of bringing back the grange, to make a hub for locals and also highlight organic farming.
"We were very enthusiastic," she said.
Hicks, the president, said many of the people who ate pancakes together on Saturday stopped in because they'd seen the bright yellow sign out on Elkhorn Road. The grange attracted a lot of new members during the event, he added.
The grange plans to hold more breakfasts, as well as BBQs and possibly a small community market, in the future. Mentoring youth and helping them get to college are other goals for the organization. Connect with them through their Facebook page.
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