Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Hot Diggity Dog: Oscar Mayer Wienermobile Visits Topeka

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Hot Diggity Dog: Oscar Mayer Wienermobile Visits Topeka

Article excerpt

Ginny Kelly may be 58, but she was giggling like a little girl Thursday afternoon when she saw the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile for the first time in many years outside the Dillons Food Market at 6829 S.W. 29th.

Kelly said she saw a television report that the Wienermobile was coming to Topeka, so she brought her daughter, Lillian Sharpe, 28, and granddaughter, Aniya Sharpe, 3, to see the distinctive, hot-dog shaped vehicle.

"I said, 'All right -- I can bring my little granddaughter to see it,'" Kelly said with a broad grin. "This is fun."

Kelly said she saw the Wienermobile years ago, but knew it very rarely came to town. That is why she made sure to see it on Thursday.

Kelly, her daughter and granddaughter went inside the Wienermobile, where they took a seat in the large cabin. Tinted windows wrapped around the front part of the vehicle, affording a near-panoramic view for those looking toward the front.

Alex Longo, one of two "hotdoggers" who drive the Wienermobile that is visiting Topeka, gave the trio a brief history of the vehicle. Longo then handed young Aniya a small, Wienermobile-shaped whistle.

Longo said she started as a "hotdogger" -- the name Oscar Mayer gives the Wienermobile drivers -- in June 2014, shortly after graduating from the University of Wisconsin.

She said she was in the northeastern part of the United States the first six months of her one-year "hotdogger" stint, then switched to tour the Midwest for the last half of her assignment.

"No two days are the same," she said. "It's definitely not a job that you get bored at."

The Wienermobile, she said, dates back to 1936 and the Great Depression. It was seen at first as a way for Oscar Mayer to bring smiles to people's faces when times were hard.

The public ate it up, so to speak, and the Wienermobile -- though it has undergone some minor modifications through the years - - has been an Oscar Mayer fixture ever since. …

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