The sound of wiener whistles and hot dog puns filled the air when the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile cruised into Oak Harbor.
The iconic hot dog truck made a pitstop at Haggen Food, a visit that had nostalgic adults and curious kids lined up in the grocery store parking lot.
As the Wienermobile rounded the corner from the highway Thursday morning, a burly, leather-clad motorcyclist gassing up his Harley at the 76 Station squealed, “Look, it’s the Wienie-Mobile!”
That response is fairly typical, said Hotdoggers Taylor Lennox and Mayra Martinez, both recent college graduates. They’re one of six teams that drive Wienermobiles around different parts of the U.S.
The Hotdoggers drove the Wienermobile onto the Mukilteo-Clinton Ferry, which caused a scene. Then they were almost late to their Oak Harbor engagement after getting hung up in construction traffic on State Highway 20.
By the time they arrived, a line of eager wiener watchers was assembled in the Haggen parking lot. One of them was Ernie Branigh, who arrived with one of his three Dachshund dogs for a photo-op.
“To me, this is fantastic,” he said.
The Wienermobile is a custom fiberglass hotdog and bun on a Chevrolet W4 series chassis. Inside there’s seating for six and ketchup and mustard colored seats and a condiment splattered carpet.
The Hotdoggers set up a virtual reality viewing station where visitors can put on a headset fitted with a smartphone that gives the experience of riding inside. Some people gave it a whirl but most everyone wanted to sneak a peek inside the Wienermobile.
Joanne Lightfritz of Oak Harbor brought four little boys she watches in her day care. She remembers the iconic Wienermobile. To the kids, it was an extremely impressive and large lunch item on wheels.
“I showed them a picture,” she said.
“They thought it was kind of cool.”
Haggen sold more than 1,000 hotdogs and the proceeds went to Spin Cafe, which serves the city’s homeless. The Hotdoggers gave out more than 750 wiener whistles, Lennox said. She estimates more than 1,200 people came to the four-hour event along with 45 wiener dogs.
“We really enjoyed Oak Harbor,” she said. “Everyone was so kind and REALLY loved the Wienermobile. Since I started in June this was the biggest grocery store turnout that we have had which was awesome.”
The Wienermobile plans to visit Haggen stores in Snohomish and Marysville Sunday.