The Grand Island Fire Station in Grimes was packed just 30 minutes after the doors opened for their bi-annual Fourth of July Breakfast on Thursday.
Fire Captain Lance Swift said more than 120 hungry guests had visited the station already for the all-you-can-eat buffet style breakfast, and hundreds more were expected before they shut down the kitchen at 11 a.m.
All morning, the nine firefighters that make up the department were busy cooking breakfast.
“All of the meat was donated to us by the Fairgrounds after the Fair,” Swift said as he grilled up bacon and sausage.
Captain Todd Miller and Commissioner John Miller flipped pancakes, cooking up at least 12 at a time.
Firefighter Jessica Linton replenished food on the buffet, making sure there was always plenty to eat.
The breakfast included just about anything you could want to start your day including eggs and bacon, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, fruit and even a breakfast burrito station.
A crowd favorite at the breakfast is always the biscuits and gravy, said Todd Miller, and the department was ready with six gallons of gravy for the feast.
“You definitely won’t walk away with an empty stomach,” Swift said.
Martin Ramirez, EMT Captain 115, and firefighter Chris Azevedo manned the burrito bar, grilling up tortillas and the always popular chorizo.
“A lot of people like it so we keep doing it,” Ramirez said about the chorizo. “This year we got 15 pounds.”
Ramirez said this tradition was started over 20 years ago by former Grand Island firefighter Lupe Varajas when he introduced the Spanish style sausage to the breakfast.
The breakfast has been happening bi-annually since 1999, when the department was merged with the Sacramento River Fire Protection.
Each year on the Fourth of July, the department rotates between this breakfast and the Grimes Day parade.
“It a way for the department to give back to the community,” Ramirez said.
As always, the breakfast was free but donations in any amount were accepted. Swift said all of the proceeds will go towards future department fundraisers and the Department’s scholarship fund.
“All of the money goes right back into the community,” Swift said.
Larry Jones and his wife Patti said they drove from Sacramento to attend the breakfast.
“We saw it in the paper and wanted to come out and support a smaller department,” Larry Jones said. “All of the food has been really delicious and the people have been so friendly.”
The Grand Island Fire Station also hosts an annual New Year’s Day Breakfast to raise money for there scholarship fund.