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Paczki Day: Crowds devour sinfully good Polish treats at Milwaukee’s National Bakery

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Well before the sun came up on Fat Tuesday, people lined up outside National Bakery to get their hands on fresh made paczki.

Ken Lovas got in line at 4:20 a.m.

"I take them for work, I take them for church, I take them for neighbors, the little ones. You'd think you gave them a million dollars when you take two paczki over to the house. It's like you remembered," said Lovas.

Once the doors opened at 6 a.m. the paczki madness began.

"It's busy, it's crazy but I like to say it's kind of organized chaos out there," said National Bakery Co-Owner Jeff Callen.

Paczki Day is a Polish, Catholic tradition on Fat Tuesday, which started as a way for people to satisfy their sweet tooth before the first day of Lent. Throughout the day there was a line out the door, but the camaraderie and delicious Polish pastries make the wait worth it.

"The line goes by so quick. They're so organized here that you spend not even 15 minutes in the line," said Diane Zarnowski as she waited in line to buy a paczki.

Even Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett stopped by.

"This is a great place to be. People are excited to be here and you've got to have a paczki on Fat Tuesday," said Mayor Barrett.

On Paczki Day they have raisin, prune, powdered sugar, but the butter dough raspberry glazed were sold out by 8:30 a.m.

Although the butter dough raspberry glazed sold out first, everyone has their own favorite.

"I would say the powdered sugar prune because that is traditional," said Marlene Widtas as she bought her paczki.

"I like the raisin, the raisin is really good," said Zarnowski.

It's that sweet treat that keep bringing people back year after year.

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