More than 2,000 people participated in Iredell’s Happiest Day on Thursday, dining on pancakes and sausage while supporting the important mission of the Boys & Girls Club of the Piedmont.

The smell of pancakes and sausage wafted throughout the Statesville Civic Center for the second annual Randy Marion Automotive Pancake Day – Iredell’s Happiest Day as volunteer chefs served up made-to-order pancakes on hot griddles from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Around 9:30 a.m., Mitchell Community College’s culinary students were preparing pancakes. Chef Bob’s students brought special add-on ingredients, including fresh fruit, chocolate chips, whip cream.

“I enjoy being out in the community and helping people at events. I’m glad to be a part of Pancake Day. I just enjoy cooking and feeding others,” MCC student Talisha Vaughters said.

“The Boys & Girls Club is a worthwhile cause. I’m thankful for what they do in the community,” she added.

Retirees Doris and Wendell Worthington and their friend Susan Hollingsworth dined in for the event, which they learned about through their church in Statesville.

“Being a former teacher, it’s important for kids to have organizations like this. It’s a great opportunity to sit down and enjoy a meal while supporting a wonderful organization,” Hollingsworth said.

Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Clarissa Young said the proceeds from the event will help fund after-school and summer camp programs. The club currently serves 476 students at its Cochran Street campus in Statesville. Fifty-one students attend the Shepherd Elementary School satellite campus.

Board of Directors President Bill Dixon said he was pleased with the turnout for Thursday’s fundraiser.

“The cross-section of people that we’ve seen from young to old has been great so far,” he said while moving throughout the Civic Center, greeting volunteers and welcoming guests.

The Boys & Girls Club provides a safe space and offers tutoring, mentoring and leadership opportunities.

Director of Development Brady Johnson said the morning shift was busier than last year’s inaugural event.

“We’ve had a lot of early morning support from EMS, the Sheriff’s Office and firefighters,” he said.

Volunteers are the backbone of the event.

“We had really strong teams show up, such as Sherwin Williams, who sent us about 20 volunteers. We’ve had tremendous community support from so many groups,” Johnson added.

Connie Cuthrell, HR manager at Sherwin Williams, said her team was glad to be part of Iredell’s Happiest Day.

“This is our first time with the pancake breakfast. We are excited to volunteer today and do whatever they need us to do,” she said. “We are part of the community and want to give back.”

By the end of the day, 2,094 guests had been served, surpassing last year’s total.