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The Force is strong with 'Star Wars' doughnuts at Paula's

In the doughnut business, the weeks after Easter are like the eye of the hurricane, or should we say the hole in the doughnut. There is a lull.

"Everyone still has their Easter candy," explained Christy Worthington of Paula's Donuts.

But this is the year the doughnut empire strikes back with a trio of special "Star Wars"-inspired doughnuts pegged to May 4, known to fans of the movie franchise as "May the 4th Be With You" day.

The idea struck Worthington like a lightsaber on May 1. "I love 'Star Wars.' My husband got me into it," said Worthington, whose mother is Paula Huber, the owner of Paula's. "And everyone who likes 'Star Wars' likes May 4, because it sounds like, 'May the Force be with you.' "

"Suddenly I was just like, this Thursday is the Fourth. And I got all excited. I said, 'We should do a Star Wars doughnut!'"

Like many a big Buffalo doughnut, the idea took shape.

"I started Googling 'Star Wars' doughnuts. There's examples out there," Worthington said.

After exploring the galaxy of offerings -- Galactic Vanilla-Bean Glazed Doughnuts, Death Star Doughnuts, Princess Leia Doughnut Holes -- she knew the Force would be with Paula's.

"I said, 'We can do this.'" she laughed. "Another employee and I, we started messing around with them, saying, 'This is so cute.'"

Their fellow Paula's staffers quickly separated into two camps.

"The ones who don't like 'Star Wars' were like, 'What are you doing?' " Worthington said, mimicking their puzzled tone. "But the employees who like 'Star Wars,' they were like, 'This is really cool!' So we were all excited together."

On May 4, they'll roll out the doughnuts.

Chewbacca gets a Western New York twist. He's a peanut stick.

His two companions, Yoda and a storm trooper, will be filled with both angel cream and Bavarian cream. Worthington loves that combination. "They're both delicious," she said.

"So unless someone calls and asks for something specific -- 'I don't want angel, I only want Bavarian' -- for this doughnut, they're all going to be filled with Bavarian cream and angel cream. If you've never had them together, they're even better together."

Alas, the doughnuts require a significant commitment from specially trained staff.

"Yoda seems easy, but the other ones, it takes a lot of time," Worthington reflected.

And so the "Star Wars" doughnuts will be available at all Paula's locations on May 4, and not much beyond that.

"Usually people place orders for specialty doughnuts. But I'm also going to be making extras," Worthington said. "I'll make the doughnuts throughout the weekend, so people can get them as long as they place an order."

What happens after that? What's next for Paula's?

"I'm working on a Nutella doughnut," Worthington confided.

And you can bet dollars to doughnuts that there's a "Star Wars" sequel.

"She just comes up with all these ideas, and she goes with it," Paula Huber laughed. "We like to have fun with what's going on. Keeping it fun, and rolling with the doughnuts."

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