National Donut Day was established in 1938 by Salvation Army as a depression-era outreach initiative. It pays tribute to Salvation Army volunteers who prepared donuts for thousands of soldiers during World War I.  Since that time, National Donut Day events have been held in cities across the country by local Salvation Army units.  This marked the fifth year that the local Salvation Army has partnered with the Greater Cincinnati Retail Bakers Association for the event, which was held on Fountain Square.

Donut Day featured local celebrities playing themed games, such as donut stacking and a donut hole toss. Others attended wearing their finest glazed fashions.

I counted thirteen sweet shops distributing their signature donuts -- ironically, a baker's dozen. Neighborhood notables included: Holtman's Donuts, Bonnie Lynn Bakery, Bonomini Bakery, Harrison Home Bakery, North College Hill Bakery, Regina Bakery, Schmidt's Bakery, and Wyoming Pastry Shop as well as larger patisseries Busken Bakery, Dunkin' Donuts, Servatii's, Graeter's, and Bakery Hill at the Midwest Culinary Institute (Cincinnati State).

With so many tastes, I was glad that several shops cut their donuts into quarters to offer a bite without having to commit to a full portion (although, I won't complain that some of my favorite places did have whole donuts for the taking!) A most popular event, some shops saw queues reach seven people deep, just to snack on their sweets.

Honorable Donut Day Mentions

Best All-Around Donut:
Holtman's Chocolate Iced w/ Sprinkles

(Unless you're offering me a lemon-filled pastry, sprinkles will win me over every time.)

Best Structural Integrity:
(Held up in the bag while out in the heat and sunshine)
Bakery Hill's glazed with chocolate caramel crumble. Not only did it look elegant, but it tasted fantastic too.

Favorite Surprise:
Schmidt Bakery's Cherry Thing-a-Ling
Only sold during Presidents' Day Weekend, I've heard tales of friends making an early morning journey to Schmidt's shop in Batesville, Indiana to get this coveted sweet. These sell out super fast, so I was excited to have the chance to finally taste one.