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A tradition since 1960, Shelbyville Optimist Club doughnuts return

Shelbyville donuts
Posted at 6:43 PM, Aug 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 06:43:12-04

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For more than 60 years, it's happened: the creation of a special recipe of deep-fried, generously glazed goodness.

"I don't have a count of how many million we've sold, but it's several million," smiled Brent Pewitt, president of the Shelbyville Optimist Club.

Pewitt has a connection to what's being made here.

"My dad joined the Optimist Club in 1959," he said.

It was the very next year that the group served the first batch of what would become known as the Shelbyville Optimist Club World Famous Horse Show Donuts.

"My dad would bring those home," Pewitt said. "I had them for breakfast probably six months out of the year."

They're only served a few days a year during the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. The Optimist Club operates out of a small building within the event site.

"Gimme six of 'em, the hot ones!" one woman said, walking up to the counter.

"They're always hot, fresh, and delicious," said another woman, collecting a few boxes for her family.

"They're a cake doughnut recipe," said Pewitt. "They have just a hint of citrus orange."

"You see these doughnut," said one man, opening his box of doughnut. "I used to have a store, me and my business partner. I'm taking them to him. He will think he's died and gone to heaven. Best doughnuts in the world!"

The Optimist Club uses the sales of the doughnut to help young people in the community, supporting things like the Imagination Library and scholarships. Back in 1960, Pewitt's father, Earl Pewitt, could have never guessed those Optimist Club doughnuts would still be going so many years later.

"Yes sir, it's a tradition!" said Pewitt.

He's proud to continue something people love.

Pewitt said the doughnuts will continue to be offered through Saturday. Then, they'll be gone again until next year.