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! 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:

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.

Seven Scenic Aerial Photos Captured Above Pure Michigan

Do you ever wonder what a beautiful Pure Michigan landscape looks like from above? Just ask aerial photographer Marge Beaver!  Marge is based in Muskegon, MI. She has more than 30 years experience flying and shooting custom aerial photography jobs all over the country – many of them in Michigan! Her plane is equipped with camera ports for both vertical (map-like) and oblique (scenic, angled) photography. She has logged more than 7,000 hours in the air flying and photographing all kinds of subjects from sandy shores to frozen lakes.

Here are seven spectacular aerial photos captured high above Pure Michigan:

Lake Michigan harbor at Manistique in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Photo courtesy of Marge Beaver - Photography Plus

 Big Bay Harbor in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan along the shores of Lake Superior

Photo courtesy of Marge Beaver - Photography Plus

 Mackinac Bridge in the winter showing the track made by an icebreaker to open a shipping path

Photo courtesy of Marge Beaver - Photography Plus

Downtown Detroit with Ford Field & Comerica Park in the foreground looking toward the Detroit River and the Renaissance Center

Photo courtesy of Marge Beaver - Photography Plus

 Ice formations along the eastern shoreline of Lake Michigan

Photo courtesy of Marge Beaver - Photography Plus

 Fishing boats heading out of the Muskegon channel into Lake Michigan at sunrise

Photo courtesy of Marge Beaver - Photography Plus

High above Muskegon during the winter months.

Photo courtesy of Marge Beaver - Photography Plus

For more aerial photos, visit http://photography-plus.com. Marge has authored 3 coffee table style aerial photo books - Above the North, Above West Michigan, and the most recent titled Above the Lighthouses: Lake Michigan illustrating her love affair with how our beautiful area looks from on high.  Personalized copies can be obtained through her website or toll free at 866-300-9691.  Digital images can also be purchased for use on brochures, websites, etc.

Marge is a great-grandmother with 4 living children (raised 5), 12 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.  She didn’t start her flying career until after her major family obligations were behind her.  Once she took an introductory ride in a small plane, though, she was immediately addicted, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

5 Ways to Celebrate Michigan’s 177th Birthday

The state of Michigan turns 177 on Sunday! To help kick off Michigan’s birthday weekend, we asked Alex Beaton of The Awesome Mitten to share her recommendations on ways to celebrate.

Do you plan to celebrate Michigan’s birthday? Share with us in the comments section below!

Host a Michigan Birthday Party!

What better way to celebrate Michigan’s 177th Birthday than with a birthday party? Invite over some fellow Michiganders, drink Michigan beer, enjoy a plethora of MIchigan foods, play some Euchre – and our extra awesome “Michigan Bingo” that we’ve created just for the occasion! Not going to be in Michigan to celebrate the momentous event? Create a Google hangout with some other displaced Michiganders and enjoy all those activities virtually! We hosted our own and here’s the story about it.

Drink a Michigan beverage.

Michigan is home to several amazing drinks. Faygo and Vernors are some classic favorites, but in honor of Michigan’s 177th, branch out and try one of the newer Michigan pops; feel free to make your drink a little more adult with some local gin or whiskey. With Michigan’s craft beer industry booming, you also have the option to go to your favorite local specialty drink shop and create your own six pack of Michigan beers you haven’t tried before. And last but certainly not least, you can drink some of Michigan’s delicious wine! There are over 50 wineries in both Southwest and Northwest Michigan, so it’s easy to find something you’ll like that’s local too!

Enjoy some Michigan fudge or a pasty!

If there’s something Michigan does right, it’s food. For those with a sweet tooth, Michigan fudge is a must-have–grab some from Murdick’s in Traverse City or any Kilwin’s location across the state. If you’re looking for something a little more robust, try a pasty and argue with your friends about the pronunciation of this delicacy along with whether to top yours with ketchup or gravy.

Get outside!

We’re lucky in Michigan to have so many outdoor activities just outside our door! Even if you usually grumble about the snow and cold, take time on Michigan’s Birthday to be thankful for it: get outside and go ice skating, snowshoeing, skiing, sledding, snowboarding, or just take a walk and revel in Michigan’s natural beauty. There are plenty of ski runs and hiking trails around the state–we’re certain there’s at least one near you.

Plan your next weekend getaway.

Thinking about staying home this spring break to save some money? Why not plan a long weekend somewhere in Michigan? Enjoy the wine trails in Traverse City, plan a craft beer weekend in Beer City USA (Grand Rapids), or head over the bridge and enjoy all the Upper Peninsula has to offer!

How will you be celebrating Michigan’s 177th Birthday? Comment below, or share on Instagram & Twitter using the hashtag #177YearsofAwesome!

Alex Beaton is the Founder of The Awesome Mitten. A Michigan native, she grew up in Traverse City, went to college in East Lansing, and now calls Grand Rapids home. A foodie and lover of Michigan craft beer, she enjoys going on weekend adventures throughout Michigan, which can be followed on the Awesome Mitten’s social media accounts:  FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.