MILWAUKEE -- Thousands of Milwaukee-area residents lined up early on Tuesday, March 5 to indulge in a popular sweet treat before Lent begins. People all over are celebrating "Paczki Day!"
As the doors to National Bakery & Deli in Milwaukee opened for business, faithful followers turned out in droves.
"It's just a great place to be. A great place to start your day," said Marlene Witas, customer.
"It's always fun. I like the music," said Karen Zima, customer.
Some lined up as early as 5 a.m.
"To get 'em first," said Rick Ryback, customer.
"It's a lot of buildup to it but once the doors open it's been so much fun," said Jeff Callen, National Bakery & Deli owner.
Bakers have been working around the clock to pump out 36,000 Paczki. With only 600 pre-orders taken, the rest were first-come, first-served.
The holiday of sorts even brought out familiar faces, like Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who picked up a box for the office.
"This is like Christmas in March coming in here," said Mayor Barrett. "We got some raisin and we got some raspberry."
Regardless of preference, customers young and old waited patiently for their fair share of the traditional Polish pastry.
"The different generations keep coming here," said Callen.
"Every time this location. And I do it for the kids," Rybak said.
Leaving with nothing but a smile on their faces and of course, Paczki.
"It's Mother Nature's most perfect food," said Tom Kandziora, customer.
FOX6 News was told all three National Bakery & Deli locations ran out of Paczki by late afternoon.