Celebrate Fat Tuesday with a Paczki in Pure Michigan

To celebrate Paczki Day (Fat Tuesday) in Pure Michigan, Joanna Dueweke of The Awesome Mitten gives us some history behind the holiday along with a roundup of sweet ways to indulge next Tuesday! 

Paczki-in-HamtramckIt’s that time of year again! March 4th is Fat Tuesday, or as it is lovingly called in many areas in Michigan, Paczki Day. Pronounced POONCH-KEE, paczki are deep-fried pieces of dough stuffed with sweet fillers of numerous variations. Fat Tuesday is the day before the Christian holiday of Lent where folks traditionally refrain from indulgent treats, but Michiganders (and much of the US) have adopted the Polish tradition of indulging in these treats and adding festivities to the mix. In Hamtramck, a city near Detroit which has been heralded as Michigan’s ‘Poletown’ since Polish immigrants started flooded the area in 1914, celebrations start at 7am and consumers line up around the block from their favorite bakeries to get their hands on paczki.

Photo courtesy of Carrie Acosta

Photo courtesy of Carrie Acosta

Traditionally, paczki were made to use up the remaining lard, sugar, eggs and fruit that were in households before Lent began; Catholic customs forbid those indulgences during the Lenten holiday. Polish immigrants brought those traditions with them to the United States, so places with strong Polish roots hold on to those important celebrations. No one is really complaining; Fat Tuesday is a day full of fun and delicious treats!

We know that not everyone can travel to Hamtramck or devote a day to revelry. With that in mind, we’ve discovered several spots throughout Michigan that are rumored to have especially delicious paczki. It is often advised to get to these spots early or order in advance because they’re a hot commodity!

Suggestions in no particular order:

Photo courtesy of Tour de Troit

Photo courtesy of Tour de Troit

Feel guilty about indulging in such decadence? No worries, Hamtramck has you covered there as well. Join them for the Paczki Run on the Saturday before Fat Tuesday. You will run through some great urban terrain and end with a much deserve paczki and a beer!

Will you be having a paczki on Fat Tuesday? Let us know where you get one from!

Joanna DuewekeJoanna Dueweke writes for the Awesome Mitten and is the Interactive Marketing Coordinator for the Detroit Regional Chamber. Born and raised in Traverse City, she is enjoying new adventures in the Detroit area, but also values her roots in Northern Michigan. Exploring the outdoors, sailing, travel, and enjoying the Mitten’s beer industry consume her time when she is not pursuing her Master’s in Library and Information Science at Wayne State University.

From Our Community: 21 Reasons We’re in Love with Michigan

It’s Valentine’s Day! And it’s the perfect time to show your love. We asked our fans on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Instagram to tell us why they love the state of Michigan. We received so many wonderful and heartfelt responses. From long summer days to soft falling snow, it’s unanimous – There’s a lot to love about Pure Michigan!

Below is a roundup of just some of our favorite responses from fans. If yours is missing, tell us in the comments section why you’re in love with Michigan!

“I love the beauty of our state, from the miraculous sand dunes up and over the Mighty Mac Bridge to Pictured Rocks and all around the mitten the sparkly blue water of the Great Lakes!”  -Mary Distelrath McGowan

“I love the four beautiful seasons and the lighthouses.” -Lisa Foor Swartz

South Haven, Traverse City, Mission Point, Petoskey, The Great Lakes..Hot Summers..Colorful Fall Season..Apple orchards..blueberries.” -Jean Farrell DeWaters

“All the natural beauty, from lighthouses, to sand dunes, to sunsets and everything in between!” -Robin Ruff Leja

“I love the sand dunes and the wineries and the beaches!”  -Amy Parsons

“I love the smell of fresh air in Northern MI. The beautiful fresh water in our lakes…the seasons…I LOVE Mackinac Island!” -Teresa Dungey Gotch

“EVERYTHING, including the SNOW!” -Carol Hagen

“The smell of the pines and a wonderful sunset over Grand Traverse Bay!” -Linda Leder

“I love the way the sand feels on my feet 100 yards out! When it ripples into a washboard like repetition! I also love that you can find a spot ankle deep 200 yards out!” -Nathan Smith

“Skiing in Boyne!” -Lindsay O’Rourke

“The lakes and rivers to fish in. Fresh stealhead or walleye.” -Beth Powell-bennett

Fishing, camping and hiking in the Western U.P.” -Loretta Stolarz

“Summers near Ludington!” -Anne Stewart Goss

Frankenmuth, I love going there. I have been going up there for 50 years, never get tired of it!” -Louise Brown

“The snow, the lighthouses, Mackinac Island. The Lakes. Well Everything really.” -Sheila Anne Lawson

“Taking a day off to go to a lake is easy. Can’t wait for spring!” -Theresa Lynn Many

“We have a BEAUITFUL state! The water at Pictured Rocks in Lake Superior is like the Caribbean, it’s gorgeous! The different blues, you have to go see it!” -Wanda Tindle-Perry

“The 4 seasons, scenery like nowhere else, the lakeshore, and the sweet embrace when I go home to the UP!” -Cheryl Pekuri Wright

“Scenery, scenery, and more scenery. Add my family to that and I have everything.” -Tobie Kahn Scheibel

“Plentiful waters, beautiful curvy hills & a blended culture. Michigan has creative products & best small businesses anywhere!” -Twitter user @TheXExchange  

“What’s not to love about Michigan?” -Michael Tokarz Photography

Why do you love Pure Michigan? 

Ten Great Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Michigan

Love is in the air in Pure Michigan! Michigan’s snow-covered shores, glowing sunsets, and twinkling city lights help set the mood for a romantic getaway or special night out this February. Whether you cuddle-up at home or head out on the town, here are ten romantic ways to spend time with your sweetie on Valentine’s Day in Pure Michigan. For more ideas on things to do in Pure Michigan on Valentine’s Day, visit michigan.org.

1. Take Advantage of Ski and Snowboard Specials

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @daniellec319

For snow-loving couples, a number of Michigan ski resorts will offer special events and packages around Valentine’s Day. Have some fun on Cupid’s Couple Obstacle Course at Swiss Valley Ski Area or take advantage of two-for-one Valentine’s Day skiing at Shanty Creek, Crystal Mountain will also offer special Romance Packages. Check out other ski and snowboard specials and events near you here.

2. Take a Midnight Stroll 

A leisurely hand-in-hand stroll is a relaxing way to spend quality time. Why not put a new spin on a classic activity with some cross-country skis or snowshoes?

Hartwick Pines State Park will offer a special evening event  on February 22nd where skiers will have a chance to enjoy one of the park’s groomed ski trails by lantern light.  Over 75 lanterns will be lit along the 1.25 mile, groomed cross-country ski trail. Stick around afterwards for hot beverages and snacks!

If you’d rather trek through Michigan’s terrain on foot, Hartwick Pines State Park will also offer a Full Moon guided snowshoe hike on Saturday, February 15, 2014, at 7pm. Trapper’s Cabin trail in Roscommon will also be lit with torches on February 15th, creating a truly unique and memorable nighttime experience.

3. Go Ice Skating

What could be more picturesque than ice skating in the park after a romantic dinner? Many cities in Michigan have skating ponds in the winter months. In Grand Rapids, visitors can go ice skating in Rosa Parks Circle. Located in the heart of the city, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy a candlelit dinner with your significant other before heading over to glide across the ice. In Detroit, Campus Martius Park is home to a skating rink January through March. Also located right downtown, there is a variety of dining options to choose from!

4. Check out a Beer or Wine Tasting

Michigan’s craft beer scene is booming. Why not try some unique Michigan craft brews at the brewery nearest you?

If sipping a glass of Michigan wine suits your fancy, many Michigan wineries are offering special tasting events for couples around Valentine’s Day. Check out Chateau Chantal’s Valentine’s Day Wine Education Dinner Traverse City or head to Roscommon’s Winter Wine Tasting on February 16th.

5. Spend the Night at a Michigan Bed & Breakfast

If a quick getaway is what you’re looking for, Michigan Bed and Breakfast’s have last-minute Valentine’s Day Specials avaialable. Spend a charming day and night exploring a new location, dining on local fare, and enjoying your time away together.

6. Spend Some Time with the Animals

Love animals? Spend Valentine’s Day at the Detroit Zoo for Love Gone Wild.  For a more action-packed outing, head to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and meet the sled dog teams participating in this year’s UP200 and Midnight Run.

7. Have a Few Laughs

Strengthen your bond over a few good jokes at your local comedy club. The Ramsdell Theatre and Cultural Center will host a special Valentine’s Day Comedy Concert. The show starts at 8pm, tickets are just $12 in advance, $15 at the door. A dinner/show package is also available for $75 per couple. Talented comedians will also take the stage at The Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival in downtown Traverse City. Be sure to ride the winter Ferris wheel outside after the show!

8. Catch a Flick

Catching a movie is a great way to spend the evening, and there are many movie theaters around Michigan to choose from. If you’d like to make you’re movie-going experience a little special, Michigan is home to several classic movie houses that aren’t your normal cinema. The State Theatre in Traverse City was originally built in 1918 and rebuilt in 1923 after a fire. It showed the first talking movie seen in Northern Michigan in 1929 when it was known as the Lyric Theatre. Now it is home to the Traverse City Film Festival and is open year round showing art house films. The Redford Theatre is Detroit was opened in 1928 and shows “classic movies the way they were meant to be seen,” accompanied by organ and all.

9. Satisfy your Sweet Tooth

It’s not Valentine’s Day without some sweet treats! Check out one of Michigan’s many delicious bakeries or attend an eventcentered wholly around chocolate!

Boyne City will be full of fun and chocolate this Valentine’s Day weekend during Chocolate-Covered Boyne celebrating chocolate and romance at more than 30 businesses.

Lemon Creek Winery in Grand Haven will also host “A Chocolate Affair” every Saturday in February from 2pm-5pm. Local Chocolatiers will share samples of their own unique handcrafted chocolates, truffles, bonbons, and other delectables. Chocolate pairings will also be featured with Lemon Creek’s wines for an even more tempting tasting experience.

10. Plan a Romantic Spring Getaway

If you’d rather curl up at home with a fire and some hot cocoa, take the time to plan a romantic getaway this spring. These great packages are sure to get you looking forward to exciting times ahead!

These are just a few of the many Valentine’s Day events happening around the state. For more ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Pure Michigan visit, michigan.org.

How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day in Pure Michigan this year?