Flapjack Queen elections highlighted Berthoud’s Labor Day celebrations

Photo courtesy of the Berthoud Historical Society –
The 1949 Flapjack Queens court posed for a photograph on a truck driven by Fred Harsch lumberyard operator Walt Albrecht. The 1949 Flapjack Queen, Shirley Schleiger (left) stood beside community volunteer Virgil Barbre.   

By Mark French

The Surveyor

From 1948 through 1958 Berthoud’s Flapjack Day was one of the biggest Labor Day celebrations in northern Colorado. In order to publicize the 1949 Flapjack Day, eight Berthoud organizations; including the Berthoud War Mothers, American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, PTA, 4-H, and BHS Band Parents built a “novelty float” that appeared in the Larimer and Boulder county fair parades.

One highlight of every Flapjack Day celebration was the election of a Flapjack Queen by popular vote. The roster of Flapjack Queens included Helen Carroll (1948), Shirley Schleiger (1949), Beulah Conder (1950), Virginia Starck (1951), Charlene Johnson (1952), Carolyn Straight (1953), Lew Ann Jensen (1954), Bobetta Hagler (1955), and Mary Mangan (1956). The youngest queen was Shirley Schleiger who was a Berthoud High School freshman when she won the crown in 1949.

The queen completion was shifted to “Mrs. Flapjack” after 1956 and those royals included Mrs. Martha Miller (1957) and Mrs. Marian Metzler (1958).

The Flapjack Queen election process got underway with a five-day nomination period in early August. After nominations were closed, a three-week election leading up to Labor Day commenced. On Aug. 4, 1949, the Berthoud Bulletin published the parameters of the election. The tabloid announced, “Any Berthoud girl who is single and has not reached her 19th birthday is eligible for the honor. Her election will be similar to the method used last year, except that voting boxes will appear in sets having one for each nominee.

“Nominations are to be made at the Bulletin office. As all girls get their votes at a penny a vote by coins deposited for them, the plan is to start off all the nominees by the deposit of $1, giving each girl 100 votes. Thus anyone may make a nomination by getting the consent of the girl and contributing $1 for her first 100 votes.”

One week later the newspaper added, “Chamber president L.O. McClung announced Wednesday that only two voting stations will be used this year—one at the Public Service Building (311 Mountain Avenue) and one at the Bulletin office (349 Mountain Avenue). A voting box for all candidates will be found at the stations. They are now being prepared by the Chamber. Candidates get votes by the deposit of coins—at a penny each.

“Each candidate now has 100 votes via the $1 nomination fee required. Chamber officials will count the votes twice each week for the next two weeks. A daily count will be made during the last week. At each count the standing will be made public and an official scoreboard will be exhibited at a downtown location. In this way, supporters of all candidates will know, at all times, the standing of their favorite.”

Berthoud’s Flapjack Day celebration was discontinued after the Labor Day 1958 festivities due to the expense of operating the event.

On Labor Day 2015 City Star Brewing rejuvenated Berthoud’s Flapjack Day celebration by modernizing the event for a fundraiser benefitting the Berthoud Historical Society. Unlike the Flapjack Queen elections from 1948 through 1958 the crown is earned by winning a timed five-flapjack eating contest. Berthoud’s modern Flapjack Queens have included Caitlin Ascher (2015) and Lynsey Morgan (2016, 2017, 2018).  

City Star’s fifth annual Flapjack Day celebration will be held on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2, 2019, in historic downtown Berthoud. Free flapjacks, a flapjack-themed craft beer flight, classic vehicle show, and Flapjack Queen contest will fill the event which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

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