In Hamtramck, it was the ‘call of music’ on Paczki Day

Eastside Elvis puts the punch in paczki.


By Charles Sercombe
One thing that stood out this year on Paczki Day: It was weird that New Martha Washington Bakery is no longer there.
The last “Polish” bakery – well, they were once owned by Poles way back when, but haven’t been for many years — left on Jos. Campau is now New Palace.
And, as usual, there was an insanely long line that snaked around the corner of New Palace and past the alley, meaning the wait to get a dozen or so paczki from there was the usual two hours or so.
And yet, hardly anyone, it seems, takes advantage of calling ahead to get their order as a carryout, through the take-out window connected to the bakery where there was absolutely no line.
Well, at least the line makes for the usual photo-op for local media.
Around the corner of New Palace, Whiskey in the Jar had its usual giant heated tent set up, but at 10 a.m., another strange thing had occurred: Where were the people?
Usually, by then, the place is packed with revelers.
Same at Baker’s Streetcar bar nearby.
That was the talk of the morning, and it’s anyone’s guess as to why so few folks were out and about.
We did run into musician Frank Howard Woodman IV in the morning, just down the street from Whiskey, who said he was initially also going to wait to come out later, but then “I heard the call of music.”
The oddness extended over to PLAV Post 10, where the annual Paczki Eating Contest was being held at noon. With 10 minutes to go before the noon starting time, only about a dozen people were in the hall.
Organizers had to hustle around to get folks – anyone – to take part in the who-can-eat-the-most-paczki-in-15-minutes-contest.
Four brave souls took a seat at the table, where normally 10 or so would participate. Heck, even last year’s winner, Steve-O was a no-show. Steve, what happened?
The winner this year was a veteran of the contest, Darien Worrell, of Milford, who huffed down 14 of the bombs in what is the longest 15 minutes known on earth, or at least in Hamtramck.
Let us paint a picture of what it takes to win: By the end of 15 minutes, Darien, the warrior that he is (this was his 25th year participating), was covered thick with red paczki jelly throughout his gray, wooly beard, and his hands were a sticky, smeared, gooey mess.
This is truly an immersion sport.
Some interesting things we learned from past champion, Matthew Holowicki, who once ate over 23 paczki and lived to tell about it:
At a bit after five minutes one starts getting “the sugar shake.” Hmmm, that could be a good name for a band.
At the 10-minute mark, “you get the dough sweats.” Dough sweats??
At the two-minutes-to-go mark, it becomes “crunch time.”
Oh, there’s a rule to this contest: “You can’t toss your paczki.” Which does not mean you can’t throw one, but you can’t throw up one.
Fun stuff, eh?
Chants we heard from the crowd:
“Ed, Ed, Ed, Ed, Ed” (etc, etc.) for new challenger Ed Wolyniec (who’s an all-around nice guy.)
“USA, USA, USA, USA” (etc., etc.)
“Polska, Polska, Polska, Polska” (etc, etc.)
And just for the heck it, one more time: “Ed, Ed, Ed, Ed, Ed …”
Maybe we were seeing double, but there were not one, but two guys dressed as 70s-era Elvis (does that make it a gathering of Elvi?).
OK we didn’t run into one coming from New Palace. We saw a video of it posted on former Mayor Karen Majewski’s Facebook page. Anyway this Elvis said, as he clutched boxes of paczki, ““Don’t grab these paczkis, they’re spoken for.”
Well, hunka, hunka burnin’ fat buddy.
Over at Small’s bar, there was Eastside Elvis, belting out everyone’s favorites, and we gotta say, this band is really good and loads of fun.
It made one realize, 100 years from now, there will still be Elvis impersonators — that is, if earth isn’t flooded or burnt to a crisp by then.
You know, like a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich.
That’s about it. We have to go toss some paczki.
Posted Feb. 16, 2026

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