Paczki Day is once again a huge success

By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck was Party Town,` USA this past week.

What, with the Blowout all weekend and Paczki Day on Tuesday … Whew!

For the second year in a row, Paczki Day was a two-day affair, with thousands upon thousands of visitors flocking into town for the Polish Lenten tradition.

It appears to have reached a point where the words paczki and Hamtramck are now synonymous. Go ahead, Google the word paczki and you’ll see that Hamtramck is right next to it.

But we digress.

This Paczki Day once again reminded us of the glory days in the 1980s, when Hamtramck was overrun with paczki lovers thanks to an onslaught of media attention.

By the 1990s or so, the tradition had lost some of that glamour. Media attention, though, came roaring back about three years ago, thanks to an energetic special events coordinator and the help of many locals who were determined to revitalize the tradition.

What more can we say about the day?

Well, for one, we are always amazed by the lengths some folks go to get to Hamtramck just for this one very special pastry.

Take Goldie Brent, a woman in her late 60s. We stumbled across her outside of New Martha Washington Bakery, sitting on the edge of a planter, waiting for a bus. It was about 10 a.m. and she had been here since 7:30 a.m.

It took her three hours — yes three hours — to get inside and purchase two dozen paczki.

To get here she took a bus from southwest Detroit, which was a two-hour ordeal all by itself.

Just for paczki, which she could buy from a bakery in her neighborhood. But those wouldn’t do for this very discerning paczki lover.

“They’re not as good as these,” Goldie said of her Hamtramck-prized paczki.

Oh, and did we say that she also has recovered from two strokes?

She went through all this trouble for her family.

We ask you, if that isn’t love, what is?

Besides the bakeries, there were gobs of people jammed into the local bars, many here to see the Polish Muslims once again play three shows at three different venues all in one day.

Now, in what other city are you going to find dedication like that?

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