BAY CITY (WJRT) (02/13/18)--A rather rowdy, early morning crowd packed Krzysiak's in Bay City for what's become known as Michigan's largest Fat Tuesday celebration outside of metro Detroit.
"We started just small, trying to make paczkis like everyone else, but it just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and bigger. It's big now," said restaurant co-owner Donnie Krzysiak Jr.
Krzysiak's 21st annual Paczki Palooza polka celebration isn't just about food, it's about polish heritage and building community.
"I'm meeting my friends, and we're having a wonderful time....I had my chocolate paczki. It's great," said Bay City resident Sue Hewitt.
The event serves as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army and helps kick off the organization's 2018 campaign.
"This sets the tone for giving for the year and the people here are big supporters," said the Salvation Army's Advisory Board Chairman Dennis Poirier.
By six o'clock, the line of customers waiting to to buy paczkis was out the door. This year's delicacies are packed with approximately 1,100 calories each.
"Worth it, totally worth it. Just got to exercise a little bit afterwards," said Bay City resident Rich Roitlewski.
"I love them. It's a family tradition," said Auburn resident Melissa Natkowski.
Krzysiak's goal was to make and sell more than 11,000 paczkis by closing time.
"We're going to try to hit the record that we didn't break last year, and the only thing holding us back in possibly a lack of yeast," said Kryzysiak's paczki maker Mark Bobinsky.