Hundreds line up to get their fill of Paczki on Fat Tuesday

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The doors opened to crowds of people at National Bakery the morning of Fat Tuesday ready to fill their bellies with Paczki. Some show up to wait in line every year.

"It's fun for the whole family. It is, to stand out here it`s a tradition that me and my daughter have," said Rick Ryback as he waited in line for Paczki with his daughter Madison.

And there were some first timers.

"I just moved to Milwaukee and my whole family we're all Polish and my mom talks about prune Paczki all the time so I was like I have to go and I have to get her one," said Paczki customer Kristyn Sobczak.

Even Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett stopped by.

"I'm not Polish at all, but I`m Polish today. Everybody is Polish today," said Mayor Barrett.

It's this jelly-filled pastry that's been bringing people together for years before the start of Lent.

"The day before Lent when people used to fast they would get rid of all of the lard and eggs and butter and all of the really bad stuff in the house and they came up with this great creation called a Paczki," said National Bakery Co-owner Jeff Callen.

There are several Paczki flavors including raspberry, raisin, and of course prune.

"When we were younger and kids we'd go eww prune, but we love prune and the others are good too," said Paczki customer Judy Klafke.

And they're much easier to eat than to pronounce.

"People say Paczki, Ponchke, Ponechke, so there`s all different kinds of things. That`s part of the fun I think," said Callen.

After satisfying their sweet tooth, many of these Paczki fans begin looking forward to next year's Fat Tuesday tradition.

National Bakery prepared 36,000 Paczki for its three locations. There were 600 pre-orders and the rest were sold on a first come, first serve basis.