Let’s be clear: pancakes are always a good idea.

That’s especially true when they serve as the tasty entree to an always-blockbuster Memorial Day weekend.

It all begins on May 27th with the return of the Mill Valley Volunteer Firefighters’ Association’s Pancake Breakfast from 7-11am in front of Mill Valley City Hall (26 Corte Madera Avenue) outside Southern Marin Fire Department Station 6 with pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice, milk and coffee. Nearly 30 years ago, the association launched its annual Pancake Breakfast when John Thompson, Fred Martin, John McClure and Bob Hughes, among others, cobbled together a bunch of portable grills, coolers and propane tanks and prepared to serve up a Memorial Day breakfast for a few hundred people. And then 800 showed up. And hundreds more showed every year after that, with volunteers serving up some 1,500 to 2,000 plates and lines forming around the block outside the Mill Valley Fire Department’s downtown station on Corte Madera Avenue. The massive event is set for 7am to 11am on traffic-free Corte Madera Ave. in front of City Hall and outside the fire station with pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice and coffee.

The Pancake Breakfast is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Mill Valley’s volunteer firefighter program. The Mill Valley Fire Department took shape more than 120 years ago as an all-volunteer organization, beating out some fires with wet potato sacks and renting space to store its gear. The approximately $10,000 to $15,000 the event raises each year helps to association continue to develop that volunteer pool which, in turn, creates a candidate pool for the hiring needs for Mill Valley and departments all over Marin and the Bay Area. The event also generates revenue to support training and equipment needs, according to Mill Valley Fire Department officials.

That incredible gathering overlaps with a Memorial Day ceremony at 9:30am at Lytton Square, the newly redesigned, tree-laden island that splits the road between Miller and Corte Madera avenues into two and is named for Lytton Barber, Mill Valley’s first WWI casualty.

The annual Mill Valley Historical Society’s annual ‘Walk Into History’ is on May 26, with a guided tour theme of ‘Community Gathering Places, from 9am-3pm. BUY TIX HERE.

On May 27th, the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade starts at 10:30am, and is preceded by the special Veterans Ceremony.

This year’s parade theme is “Strength in Numbers.” Attire: Wear your CERT or NRG vest. Feel free to wear eye-catching, appropriate accessories to make it fun for everyone!

There’s also a student K-8 essay contest, “What does Memorial Day mean to me?” starting at 9:45 at Lytton Square followed by the parade at 10:30, with the parade processing from Old Mill School to Miller Avenue. MORE INFO.

Parade Applications and are online at mviloveaparade.com

The four-day Kiddo! Carnival kicks into high gear on May 24 and runs through the evening of May 27. Memorial Day itself begins with the return of the Mill Valley Volunteer Firefighters’ Association’s Pancake Breakfast from 7-11am

The Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade was first produced in 1980. It was organized by Paul Moe of Brocket Construction, who still handles staging for the parade’s current iteration. The “I Love a Parade Committee” was formed in 1992 by Joe Leis, followed by local architect Billy Budd and assisted by Lautzker, who has been the head of the committee since 2002. Lautzker says 1992 was the first year of dogs marching with more than 200 dogs of all sizes and breeds. “The Grand Marshall that first year was Clarence Clemons from Bruce Springsteen’s band, Celebrity Judges included Jerry Garcia, Mimi Farina and Joel Bartlett,” he says. “Rock Stars on Harley’s with portable amps playing our national anthem. All of this has continued and the parade has grown in size and public participation.”

Now there are more than 60 different entries in the parade each year and trophies are awarded for Best Car, Best Float, Best Dog, Best Music, Best Novelty, Best Business, Best Community Spirit and Best Overall.   

The Mill Valley Emergency Preparedness Commission will also have a table sharing disaster preparedness information and starter go-bags.

This event expects thousands of plates to be filled, so please arrive early.

Want to know what’s happening around town? Click here to subscribe to the Enjoy Mill Valley Blog by Email!