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    Wednesday, June 19, 2024

    ‘Sound View Donuts’ continue to capitalize on nostalgia

    Nancy Lagano, right, chats with Rachel Lacourciere, of Old Lyme, while she fills her order of Sound View Donuts Saturday, May 25, 2024, during the fundraiser for Shoreline Community Center in Old Lyme. (Dana Jensen/The Day).
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    From right, Evelyn Salvatore, Gail Butcher, and Nancy Lagano take donuts to fill the cases, in background, before the opening of the Sound View Donuts fundraiser for the Shoreline Community Center Saturday, May 25, 2024, in Old Lyme. (Dana Jensen/The Day).
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    Nancy Lagano, left, hands a bag of Sound View Donuts to Cameron Rosado, 5, with his sister, Lilana, 2, partially blocked from view, of Berlin, while with their grandfather, Michail O’Connor, who has a home in Old Lyme, Saturday, May 25, 2024, during the fundraiser for the Shoreline Community Center in Old Lyme. (Dana Jensen/The Day).
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    From left, Jim Manafort, of Old Lyme, and his son, James, 10, carry bags of Sound View Donuts while they and Jame’s friend, Nick Scricca, 12, leave after buying the donuts Saturday, May 25, 2024, during the fundraiser for Shoreline Community Center. (Dana Jensen/The Day).
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    Old Lyme ― Gone are the days when the smell of flour dough in the deep fryer would lure the sleepy denizens of Sound View Beach to the doughnut shop that operated for more than 60 years at the corner of Hartford Avenue and Bocce Lane.

    Now, it’s tradition that draws them.

    Erin Van Lonkhuyzen of Maryland on Saturday stepped out of the Shoreline Community Center with her family and a dozen doughnuts. The 39 Hartford Ave. building sat just a side street away from the window where honey bees once buzzed while Nicole’s father ordered the glazed, powdered and jelly-filled treats for his children almost 40 years ago.

    Community center volunteers started the Sound View Donuts fundraiser in 2008. It was an effort to fill the hole left one year earlier when the iconic Beach Donut Shop shuttered local operations.

    “Now our kids are coming with us, so it’s fun having them experience what we did growing up,” Van Lonkhuyzen said. “It’s a family tradition.”

    Proceeds, rather than supporting four successive doughnut makers and the high school students in their employ, go toward operation of the nonprofit community center that serves as a bingo hall, meeting space and area of refuge in emergencies.

    Sound View Beach Association President Gail Fuller said she schedules three volunteers to join her every Sunday in June and each full weekend thereafter until the summer season cools off on Labor Day.

    At 6 a.m., it’s time to count the doughnuts rather than make them.

    Deliveries come in fresh around 3 a.m. from a Hartford wholesaler, according to Fuller. She ordered 1,500 doughnuts to cover pre-orders and walk-in customers over the long weekend.

    Volunteer and Hartford Avenue inhabitant Gayla Butcher recalled the days when people would line the street early waiting for their turn at the Beach Donut Shop window while parked cars blocked her family from going to church on Sundays.

    “Because they can order online, now they can sleep in and still get their doughnuts,” she said.

    Nancy Lagano, another volunteer, recalled being sent by her grandmother to get in line for doughnuts at 6:30 a.m. back when she was six years old. Now in her 70s, Lagano said the least enjoyable part of her volunteer role is getting there so early.

    Jeremiah Sievers of Glastonbury stopped at the community center for half a dozen doughnuts and a coffee with 6-year-old Hannah Sievers and 8-year-old Nate Sievers.

    “They woke me up this morning so they could come here,” he said.

    Also on their agenda was a stop at another Hartford Avenue icon: the 1925 Allen Herschell merry-go-round at the Carousel Shop.

    “Try to get the brass ring,” he said. “Haven’t done it yet, but maybe this is the year.”

    e.regan@theday.com

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