Some people call it fun, others label it as tradition but everyone knows it’s a great way to get a free meal, but is waiting upwards of an hour for a pancake breakfast really worth it?

At Stampede Park on Wednesday, thousands of kids and families waited in long lineups for their free bite of a fluffy pancake.

While any amount of time waiting in one spot is crippling for some kids, parents say it’s the experience that makes it all worthwhile.

“It’s part of the culture, its part of the Stampede joy. We go through it,” said one man. “It’s not about the pancake; it’s about the spirit of Stampede.”

Sandy Hudson says it’s more than just a free meal for her family too. “It’s so worth it. It’s a family tradition to bring all the kids down here and have a good time. The breakfast was excellent.”

According to Statistics Canada, the average Albertan earns about $32.60 per hour. With the cost of a Stampede breakfast pegged at about $7, economists say those meals aren’t actually free and instead are costing you approximately $25 in opportunity cost.

(With files from Kevin Green)