BY LUIS GRONDA
If you see a giant hot dog on wheels strolling down your block, do not be alarmed: It is just the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.
The traveling hot dog car has been traveling across the country with a two-person crew, including Woodhaven native Amanda Vazquez.
Vazquez became interested in going on the year-long voyage when the company, Kraft Foods, visited Penn State University, where she went to college. She said the prospect of traveling the country for one year appealed to her because it was a “once in a lifetime” chance.
“It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Vazquez said.
There are six different Wienermobiles traveling the U.S., each assigned to different parts of the country. Vazquez’s car traveled the southwestern United States last year and will tour the northeast this year.
She, along with a colleague, has traveled parts of the United States attending parades, festivals, 5K runs and wherever else they are invited to. At each stop, people gather around the vehicle and take photos with the 27-foot hot dog on wheels. Vazquez said people are allowed to take a tour inside the weinermobile.
Inside the car, the vehicle is made of aspects that you would associate with eating a hot dog: the floor is made of ketchup and mustard-colored tiles, and the carpet is splattered with condiments.
Vazquez said she drove the car from New York to San Diego last year, exploring much of the southwestern United States, including Los Angeles, Colorado and Utah. Her favorite state to visit was Arizona, she said, because she got to visit tourist areas like the Antelope Canyon. This year, she will drive the hot dog mobile through states like Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
Recently, she brought the wienermobile to her neighborhood in Woodhaven. Vazquez said she parked the car on Jamaica Avenue and Forest Parkway and let curious on-lookers see the vehicle up close.
“It was nice to share it with people and put a smile on their face,” she said.
In the seven months since her journey began, Vazquez said she has learned a lot about herself, mainly to have fun in life and go with the flow of the moment.
She will continue driving the hot dog car until June. When asked about her plans post-Wienermobile, she said she hopes to get a job in the field she obtained her degree in. She graduated Penn State as a Public Relations major.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.