Andy and Allie Geryol get a look inside the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile vehicle, which made three stops in Chicago area last weekend at Mariano's locations. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 17, 2013 11:04AM
VERNON HILLS — Driving around in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile for nine months would make anyone a little corndoggie.
“People always want to see the Wienermobile so they can ketchup with us,” quipped Kelly Goldthorpe, an Oscar Mayer hotdogger team ambassador, when the giant hot dog appeared outside Mariano’s Fresh Market in Vernon Hills.
The iconic 27-foot long vehicle drew a steady crowd of onlookers Saturday afternoon. Fans of all ages gladly stood in frigid temperatures to climb inside the 60-hot dog long icon and maybe pick up a souvenir wiener whistle.
They sat in the red and yellow captain’s chairs, took pictures with hot dog cutouts and chatted with Goldthorpe and fellow hot dog ambassador Eliot Pattee, who dished out hot dog humor and facts inside the toasty Wienermobile.
“We’re just trying to keep it hot in the hot dog,” Goldthorpe said. “It’s better than it being a chili dog.”
Goldthorpe and Pattee have worked on the hotdogger team since June, motoring one of six iconic vehicles from town to town. The Wienermobile had a three-day Mariano’s tour, starting Friday at the Chicago store, Saturday in Vernon Hills and a scheduled stop from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in Frankfort, 21001 S. La Grange Road.
The Pagano family of Libertyville passed the Wienermobile while driving on Route 60.
“We went on your Twitter feed to see where you were going,” Amy Pagano told Goldthorpe.
“Oh, did you like, ‘Irish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener,’” Goldthorpe sang as the Paganos laughed about the Tweet.
“Yeah, we’re corndogs,” Pattee said.
After taking photos inside, the Paganos headed outside for more pictures.
“Our son has been wanting to see this for about three years,” John Pagano said.
The family surprised Joey, 6, after picking him up from a birthday party.
“They said that we were going to go grocery shopping,” Joey said.
Instead, they stopped by the Wienermobile, a family first.
“It was cool,” Joey said.
The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile first hit the highway in 1936 and has been on the road ever since. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the hotdogger team, recent college graduates who sign up for a one-year job driving the Wienermobile across the country dispensing wiener whistles and hot dog lore.
Barbara Scott of Grayslake declined to go inside the hot dog, opting instead to snap an exterior shot with her phone.
“I’ll probably post it on Facebook,” Scott said. “It’s kind of fun.”
A few minutes later Bruce Selan stopped by with his grand kids.
“I remember riding on the Wienermobile when I was a little boy,” the Buffalo Grove resident said.
That was 1956 and the grandfather of three was just 5-years-old.
Nearly 60 years later, the Wienermobile didn’t disappoint.
“It’s exactly the same thing,” Selan said with a big smile.
“It’s awesome,” said grandson Tyler Kading, 11, of Vernon Hills. “I’d like to have that as a car.”