WEST CHAZY - What began as a way to raise funds for the North Country Squares building, now continues into its 40th year.
In 1970, Bob West, a square dancer with the North Country Squares in Morrisonville, proposed an idea to his friend Benjamin Sanger of serving pancakes at Sanger's Sugar House.
"[The North Country Squares] were talking about a strawberry festival in the spring, and I don't know, it was just an idea I've always had - have pancakes at a sugar house," explained West. "So, I went out to see Ben and he thought it was a good idea and we went from there."
Since then, the square dance group has served pancakes and sausage with syrup provided by the Sangers every year to keep raising funds.
"When we first started it, we started it to raise money to build [the square dance building at the Clinton County Fairgrounds]," West explained. "Now that the building is built, we need to keep raising money to support the building."
West said the club is not what it was 40 years ago.
"There's not as many members," he explained. "We used to have a lot of guests from Canada come over. The membership that we paid and the guests that came, used to basically support the cost for callers and cuers."
However, with the dip in membership, West said the open house is their largest fundraiser and is important to the keeping the club in operation.
The event - which will be held this Saturday, April 10, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, April 11, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. - is something people look forward to every year, said Kim Sanger, who today serves as co-owner of Sanger's Sugar House with her husband, Lee.
"They're parents brought them when they were little kids," she said. "They're now bringing their little kids."
Although the Sangers will take people on tours of the sugar house and answer any questions they may have, Sanger said that's not the main focus of the weekend.
"It's primarily eating is what people are interested in," she laughed. "It's kind of a rite of spring."
The Sangers provide all the syrup for the North Country Squares - which is usually about 45 gallons - and the club, in turn, provides all the food and receives 100 percent of the proceeds.
"I just picked up 570 pounds of sausage tonight," West said. "We'll pick up 550 pounds of flour Thursday. So, we'll be ready for them Saturday."
Admission to the event is $6.50 for adults, $3 for children younger than 12, and free for children younger than 5.
Sanger's Sugar House is located at 137 Stratton Hill Road.