Grab your stretchy pants! Bakeries roll out paczkis for Fat Tues - WNEM TV 5

Grab your stretchy pants! Bakeries roll out paczkis for Fat Tuesday

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BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

It's Fat Tuesday and the party is already underway!

Every year we celebrate by getting up early and grabbing some paczkis.

“We start by mixing the dough, adding in some extra butter, some extra eggs, some extra sugar, and then we cut them and proof them and fry them up try to get just the right crispiness, fluffiness to them and then we fill them with the freshest ingredients we can to get them ready for you guys," said Tony Melton, baker at Donna's Donuts in Bay City. 

Fat Tuesday is a Polish-American tradition. Thousands mark the day before Lent begins by gorging on paczki, which are calorie-laden, deep-fried pastries filled with the most delicious creams, custards and jellies.

Traditionally, the reason for making paczki (pronounced “pooonch-key”) was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, because the ingredients were forbidden to be consumed due to Catholic fasting practices during Lent, according to Michigan.org.

The tradition has evolved over the years and now, come Fat Tuesday, Americans rush out to get the tastiest paczki they can find.

Ruth Downing, head baker at Krzysiaks House Restaurant in Bay City, has been hand-making the sweet treat for 25 years.

"Everybody's buying them and everybody's eating them and I'm making them," Downing said.

Said said this year she set out to make 10,000 paczkis for Fat Tuesday.

"I love it. I just love it. Everybody's happy out there. Everybody's dancing. Everybody's singing and everybody's eating paczkis," Downing said.

A portion of Krzysiaks' sales on Tuesday will go towards the Bay City Salvation Army.

"It's to help out programs. We have a lunch program Monday through Saturday. We have social service needs, utility assistance, rent assistance, grocery. We have a food pantry that's operated Monday through Friday. So, there's multiple hats," Major Rick Ray said.

Ray said this is his first year at the Krzysiaks' celebration, but it won't be his last.

"They help the unspeakable or the unnoticed of the silent in the community that seem to be forgotten," Ray said.

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