Here in our idyllic little corner of Buckinghamshire a 500-year-old tradition, and one of the most famous pancake races in the country, continues to pull in a large and supportive crowd. Following strict rules the women of Olney (you must have lived in the town for a minimum of 3 months) don the traditional costume of a housewife (skirt, apron and head covering) and dash the 415 yards from the Market Place to the Church at 11.55am.
With some dark clouds looming it looked as if this years race was going to be a bit of a soggy affair but thankfully the pure blue skies returned as the runners waited patiently at the start line. With the road closed, the police holding back the crowds, and St Johns ambulance standing by, the warning bells rung from the Church and after one toss of their pancakes the runners were off! Upon reaching the church contestants must toss their pancake again, and the winner will receive a kiss of peace from the Vicar.
Although its not quite certain how it all started the story goes that a harassed housewife, on hearing the church bells, dashed off complete with a frying pan and pancake in hand in order to make it to church on time.
Since 1950 the Olney pancake race has been an international event. The town of Liberal in Kansas, USA, after seeing a press story about the race in Olney started their own identical race and the two towns now compete annually to see which town can produce the fastest competitor!