Family turns quirky 'Thing-a-ling' recipe into big business

WCPOPublished: February 15, 2018
Published: February 15, 2018

Giant paper cut-out cherries line the streets of Batesville, Indiana each February signifying the arrival of one thing: The Thing-A-Ling. Part doughnut and part fritter, this fried morsel stuffed with cherries and soaked in a pink glaze is only sold a few days a year. The limited sale has sent thousands of people – and dollars – into the small city about an hour west of Cincinnati for decades. And it’s all thanks to an idea Clem Schmidt had 42 years ago. “I’ve never met another baker that’s made one,” he said. "...They're very, very good." Schmidt, 77, has owned Schmidt Bakery since 1963 but started making his now famous cherry pastry in 1976. He said he saw the words “Thing-A-Ling” on a bag of flour all those decades ago that inspired him to make his own cherry fritter. The name stuck – and so did the city’s love for his sweet concoction. “The first time, maybe we sold 45 dozen. Then 50 dozen. Then 150 dozen,” Schmidt said. “Last year we sold over 4,000 dozen. That’s 52,000 doughnuts.”

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