Paczki Day in Hamtramck: Sugar, music and libations - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Paczki Day in Hamtramck: Sugar, music and libations

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Filling oozes from a paczki at an eating competition in Hamtramck.   (Credit: Fox 2 News) Filling oozes from a paczki at an eating competition in Hamtramck. (Credit: Fox 2 News)
HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (WJBK) -

Hamtramck is the Polish epicenter of metro Detroit.  We were in search of paczki on this Fat Tuesday, but somehow ended up on stage at a bar with the Polish Muslims.  The band was so loud that they blew a fuse.

"Just like Beyonce," one person said.

Obliging the crowd, I traded my neck tie for beads and a Mardi Gras hat.

Next we rushed over to the Polish League of American Veterans just in time for the paczki eating contest.  I ingest one-third of a paczek and gave up.  They're really like a jelly donut on steroids.

The real competitors chowed down for 15 minutes, and then reigning champion Mathew Holowicki defended his crown for the sixth consecutive year.  He told me he ate 18 paczki.  So Holowicki retains The Paczki Cup made of pots and pans.

"I told my girls I'd bring the cup home again this year and made good on that promise," he said.

Our journey ended at a bakery where the line was out the door.  Why is that?

"They're awesome," said one customer.

"My question is why not," said another.

"Polish Catholics traditionally wanted to indulge themselves with fat and sugar and lard the last time they could before Lent starts and they have to give all that stuff up," a woman explained.

So that's Paczki Day -- sugar, music and libations.

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