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Good paczki and good people: Southeast Wisconsin celebrates Paczki Day!

Posted at 1:29 PM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 23:01:48-05

Don't call it a doughnut — it's Paczki Day — and lines at local bakeries have been out the door since the early morning. Many people were braving the cold Tuesday for a pre-Lenten tradition.

"It’s been a crazy 24 hours just to get ready for today, but we’re ready to go," said Jeff Callen, co-owner of National Bakery and Deli.

Hundreds of people, including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, flooded National Bakery & Deli on Milwaukee's south side. Many people lined up well before the doors opened at 6 a.m. just to get their hands on a paczki. And although it may have looked a little chaotic, Callen said everything was under control.

"It takes about six weeks of planning. We start by getting everything set up, and then we get it so just everything flows once the doors open up," Callen said of his team.


Outside of Milwaukee, just a few miles west of National Bakery, a bake shop in Waukesha put a spin on tradition with booze-infused paczki, Co-owner Ken Heil describes the treats as pretty amazing.

"The first couple years we sold maybe 200-300. This yea,r we’re up to about 3,700," Heil said.

Sweet Perfections Bake Shoppe definitely gets creative with the paczki, but it also saves room for the classics, too.

At 88 years old, Margaret Rasmussen was determined to taste a paczki for the first time. After one bite, she was sold.

"Look at me, I’m like the little kid at the birthday party … look at me," Rasmussen said, laughing.