Doughnuts king for a day

National
Doughnut Day – always the first Friday in June – was created by the Salvation
Army in 1938 to raise money for needy families during the Great Depression and
to honor the Salvation Army women, known as “lassies,” who served the
ring-shaped goodies to soldiers on the front lines during World War I.

At
noon the place to be was Fountain Square, where the Salvation Army teamed up
with the Greater Cincinnati Retail Bakers Association for an event that
featured local celebrities and others vying for the title of Grand Champion
Doughnut Handler.

They
included Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher, who observed, “What goes
better with doughnuts than cops?”

He
had just completed the doughnut slalom. Participants stuck a spoon through the
hole of a doughnut, then carried it as quickly as possible around a series of
cones.

Over
at the doughnut-stacking event, Channel 12 traffic reporter/news anchor Bob
Herzog built a tower of glazed and cake doughnuts, nine high.

“I
don’t like the wind conditions,” he said, as the doughnuts swayed.
“I’m losing it!” he said as they toppled.

Appeals
judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon excelled at the doughnut toss, which “is like
cornhole,” she said.

“And
I’m a West Sider, and the West Side is where cornhole was born. So doughnut
tossing is a piece of cake, literally.”

The
competitors included Steve Chabot, a Republican who in the fall hopes to win
back the congressional seat he lost to Democrat Steve Driehaus in 2008.

Asked
his views on doughnuts, Chabot said: “We probably ought to get a whole
bunch of them and plug up the hole down in the Gulf to stop the oil from
flowing. I don’t know if we’ve got enough doughnuts here today to do
that.”

Local
bakers had 1,000 doughnuts available for the lunchtime crowd.

Cincinnati
firefighter Dan Lang, who is assigned to the station at Fifth Street and
Central Avenue, Downtown, was named Grand Champion Doughnut Handler after
besting three other finalists in a stacking competition. Instead of a medal, he
received a replica pink frosted doughnut. (With sprinkles!)

“The
main thing is we wanted to beat the policemen. We figured if we didn’t win, it
was because they got more practice than we did,” he said.

The
event, sponsored by BakeMark, a supplier to the retail baking industry, was
about more than putting smiles on people’s faces. The company presented a
$2,500 check to the Salvation Army to support its social-service programs.

Which
brings to mind a Homer Simpson quote: “Doughnuts! Is there anything they
can’t do?”