Oscar Mayer Wienermobile visits Shelton: 'That's a bi-i-i-i-i-g hot dog'

Mario Recupido of Stratford holds his daughter Mia, 3, above, in front of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile in the Shelton Stop & Shop parking lot on Thursday. (Photos by Audra Napolitano)

“Woah, that’s a bi-i-i-i-i-g hot dog,” Mia said upon seeing the promotional vehicle, which is 27 feet long, in the Shelton Square shopping center parking lot on Bridgeport Avenue.

Recent college graduates Michael Tierney and Amanda Vazquez are the Wienermobile drivers, and now are traveling around the Northeast to promote Oscar Mayer hot dogs and other meat products.

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During the stop in Shelton, many shoppers were intrigued with the vehicle — with almost everyone stopping to take a photo of it with their camera phone.

Travel all over the country

There are six Wienermobiles that drive throughout the country, overseen by 12 recent college graduates like Tierney and Vazquez. Tierney is from Minnesota and Vazquez is from New York City.

They make stops at supermarkets and other venues to hand out Wienermobile whistles, coupons, stickers, postcards and other advertising materials.

They chat with customers, pose for photos and offer tours of the promotional vehicle, well known to many generations of Americans from iconic TV ads.

First vehicle in the 1930s

The first Wienermobile hit the road in the mid-1930s for the Wisconsin-based Oscar Mayer, which is now a part of Kraft Foods. The first vehicle was designed by Carl Mayer, nephew of the company’s founder.

Wienermobile whistles were introduced inside hot dog packages in the early 1950s, becoming a popular children’s keepsake.

The Wienermobile is made of fiberglass and built on a converted Chevrolet chassis. It has a V-8 engine that runs on high-octane gas.

The slick, modern-looking vehicle has a gull-wing door, hot dog-shaped dashboard, mustard- and ketchup-colored seats, and a horn with the Oscar Mayer Wiener jingle. It is 11 feet in height and 8 feet wide.