“We haven’t done a purple shirt before, so we’re excited about that, and it matches nicely with our space theme,” said Kocher.
“We just wanted to have an uplifting concept for the back, and even if following your dream is just going to get that delicious donut on a Saturday morning, we feel like you should go for it,” she said, “People just love it. It’s really difficult to explain, but it brings a lot of joy to people.”
Celebrating its 7th year of highlighting local donut shops, the Butler County Visitors Bureau launched the Donut Trail in January 2016. Since its inception, over 30,000 people from all 50 states and 22 countries. Over $5 million in economic impact into Butler County. The Donut Trail continues to garner national recognition, including being featured in the spring 2020 edition of Chevy New Roads Magazine as well as on Today.com.
“The Donut Trail continues to be incredibly popular, even during the pandemic. Our numbers as far as the number of people completing the trail haven’t really changed very much, even as a result of the pandemic, and we have people from all over the country that come and experience the Donut Trail every year. So, to date, we’ve had over 30,000 people finish the Donut Trail. About 5,000 of those were in 2021, so it continues to be very strong and very popular,” Kocher said.
Last year, Kocher interacted with people from Texas, Wisconsin and Florida.
“We actually have a couple that flies in from Texas every year. They did the Donut Trail as part of their honeymoon several years ago. So, they come back every year to celebrate that,” Kocher said, At this point, people have created so many memories around the Donut Trail.”
Visitors can experience the Butler County Donut Trail by collecting stamps on an official passport. Once a patron completes the Donut Trail, each passport may be redeemed for a complimentary Donut Trail T-shirt. Over 600,000 passports have been distributed to date.
Passports may be redeemed at the Butler County Visitors Bureau during regular business hours on weekdays.. When the office is not open, there is a drop box in the lobby of the Visitors Bureau and people can put their passports into that box, the Visitors Bureau collects them, and the staff will mail out a T-shirt. The third option is participants can mail in their completed passport to the Visitors Bureau and in return, they will receive a T-shirt in the mail.
With the latest addition of The Donut Dude, which opened in March of 2020 in Liberty Twp., the Donut Trail now has 13 participating shops. The Donut Dude’s flavors range from old-fashioned donuts to more contemporary flavors, such as cereal and pie-flavored donuts like the popular Banana Cream Pie Donut.
The Butler County Donut Trail has become a major part of Butler County’s culinary experience. Each donut shop features their own specialties, such as the “Ugly” from Central Pastry Shop or a “Raspberry Cheesecake” donut from The Donut Spot. Jupiter Coffee & Donuts offers their signature “Miami Maple Merger” donut and Kelly’s Bakery features a “S’mores” donut, just to name a few.
The Donut Trail originally started with nine stops. The Donut Trail is affordable, it’s family-friendly, and you can also purchase the donuts to go.
Also new for 2022, the Butler County Visitors Bureau is introducing a new Braille & Large Print Passport. The Donut Trail Braille & Large Print Passport can be picked up in the BCVB office, or they can be mailed out upon request.
“We worked with the National Braille Press, which is an organization that also does many other Braille publishing projects, including the Starbucks Braille and Large-Print Menu. So, went with one of the best in the business as far as getting the Donut Trail Passport translated into Braille, and then, printed in a Braille and Large-Print format,” said Kocher.
She said, “The reason we did that is we want to make sure that our experiences are accessible to as many people as possible, and our regular passport just isn’t functional for someone of no sight or limited sight, so we thought the best way to offer that experience for that community is to offer a Braille & Large Print Passport.”
The Donut Trail Braille & Large Print Passport is three pages, front and back. A regular passport is one page. Another feature of the passport is the shops will give customers a Braille sticker as part of the code to redeem the passport. Both passports contain the same information.
“The reality is that people who need these resources are living in a world that was meant for people who have sight. So, we are so proud and glad to be able to offer the Braille & Large Print Passport to allow people to experience something in a more independent way,” Kocher said.
Last year, the BCVB launched the Extra Sweet Savings Pass, a complementary digital program that encourages people to wear their Donut Trail t-shirt (any year) to participating businesses and redeem the special deals and discounts.
In 2020, the Visitors Bureau started the Donut Trail Concierge’s Line. Patrons can call (513) 860-0917, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and have questions answered or get help in planning a Donut Trail route. Of course, the number one tip is to always get an early start, the shops often sell out. For more information on the Butler County Donut Trail, go to BCDonutTrail.com.