When the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile rolled into the Kalispell Super 1 Foods parking lot Friday morning, Val Heisler could hardly contain her excitement. She had her phone at the ready halfway down the parking lot as she half-walked, half-jogged toward the iconic hot dog-shaped vehicle. The Wienermobile stopped at Super 1 stores in Kalispell and Evergreen on Friday and will visit grocers in Kalispell, Whitefish and Columbia Falls over the weekend, before heading to Spokane. The hot dog on wheels that visited the Flathead Valley is one of six vehicles traveling the country spreading joy, hot dog samples and puns wherever they go.
For Heisler, seeing the mobile dog was a dream come true.
“We’re on vacation in Glacier and my daughter knows I’ve always wanted to see the Wienermobile — this is on my bucket list — so she sent me a schedule that they were going to be in Kalispell. We actually just made our vacation a little longer so I could have this experience this morning,” said Heisler, of Velva, North Dakota. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to see. I remember that song … ‘I wish I was an Oscar Mayer Wiener’ and I was just like quirky things like that.”
She was joined by a crowd, eager to get a peek and a picture with the Wienermobile. Kids and adults alike posed with ketchup and mustard themed accessories — and yes, even a wiener dog or two — before the 27-foot-long car. Families also feasted on free Oscar Mayer hot dogs and occasionally were offered a sneak peak inside the car thanks to the drivers, known as “hotdoggers.”
The hot dog theme isn’t limited to the vehicle’s exterior — the inside features ketchup and mustard-colored seats, a hot dog-shaped dash, and a special button that plays the first line of the classic jingle, “I Wish I Was an Oscar Mayer Wiener.”
Among the Wienermobile’s fans was Kalispell resident Mary Hirner, who came to check out the Wienermobile for the second time.
“When I first saw the Wienermobile was in Charleston, South Carolina, in probably the mid-’60s. It looked a lot different,” Hirner said. “I got my Wiener Whistle then and I got one for my grand children today.”
Hotdogger “Lunchmeat” Luke Pitzo said he observed a unique energy at the Wienermobile’s Flathead Valley stops.
“There’s been a little something extra special in the Kalispell and Libby area. Yesterday when we rolled up to the grocery story in Libby, there was about 75 people waiting for us. We had about 500 people in a three-hour event,” PItzo said. “People are really, really excited that we’re here, which makes the whole trip a little extra special.”
Ketchup with the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile today, Saturday, Aug. 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Rosauers in Kalispell, or from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Super 1 in Whitefish. The last chance to catch the Wienermobile will be from noon to 4 p.m. at Super 1 in Columbia Falls on Sunday, Aug. 11.
Reporter Mackenzie Reiss may be reached at 758-4433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.