National Doughnut Day has been around a lot longer than you might expect

It’s National Doughnut Day! Traditionally held the first Friday of June, it’s a chance for bakeries big and small to make their doughnut-loving customers happy. As people line up at Dunkin’ Donuts statewide for their doughnut with purchase of a beverage – and as independent bakeries likewise offer up free doughnuts or make up extra ones – it’s worth noting the history of National Doughnut Day, which actually stretches back to the 1930s, and actually has a legitimate basis in American history. You laugh, but it’s true. I’m serious.

National Doughnut Day started in 1938 by the Salvation Army. It’s original purpose was to honor the Salvation Army volunteer women in World War I who “mothered” soldiers on the field, and who were reported to have cooked up hundreds of doughnuts in their individual camps to give to soldiers, since doughnuts were easy to make, and cakes and pies weren’t. They were called “doughnut dollies” and they were set up in abandoned buildings near the front lines in France, and they quickly became a big hit among soldiers. 20 years after World War I ended, the first National Doughnut Day was held, and it’s been going strong for 75 years since.

It’s clearly still a popular yearly event, as just this morning I stopped at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street in Bangor for an iced coffee, and was treated to a five-car-deep line waiting for a “free” (with purchase) doughnut. Friends on social media also reported that the Dunkin’ on Broadway in Bangor was a madhouse. I gave Gosselin’s Bakery in Bangor a call as soon as I got into the office, and I asked co-owner Yvette Stewart Gosselin if they’d had a boost, and she said they’d sold out of all their doughnuts by 9:15 a.m. – a record for their family-run business. According to both Tony’s Donuts and to The Holy Donut’s Facebook pages, the Portland bakeries were swamped with people clamoring for their free doughnut this morning.

Do you have a favorite doughnut spot to share? Did you find lines, deals or other doughnut-centric specials this morning? Share them in the comments below.

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, a UMaine graduate, a proud Bangorian and an arts and lifestyle writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food, from media and the Internet to theater and dance. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra, to name just a few. She's interested in everything -- especially if it happens in Maine. She welcomes any and all feedback or suggestions for stories.