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From the Hot Dog Highway to Riley Park

By Walt Gajewski
Market Manager
May 17, 2022

I use a calendar app on my phone for scheduling meetings, appointments, events, travel, reminders, what have you … the usual thing. I book out maybe at most 4 to 6 months.

Taylor Gray, though, set a reminder two years into the future. And that’s the start of the story that led to her “hitting the Hot Dog Highway” in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, driving around the country for the past year and now this Saturday into downtown Farmington to the Farmers Market.

wienermobile-in-holland.jpegGray, a 2016 graduate of North Farmington High School, was home for a weekend during her sophomore year at MSU (majoring in communications and public relations) and saw a local news telecast pitching that Oscar Mayer was taking applications from college graduates “who were ready to travel the country and meet people.”   

After she graduated from MSU, her phone pinged on cue, and she applied for the position of “hotdogger” along with 4,000 others for the opportunity to drive the Wienermobile around the country. Months passed, the phone rang and she was off to Madison, Wis., for intensive hotdogger training. Then the trip of a lifetime began, from Los Angeles to Hattiesburg, Miss., and now returning home to Farmington.

With her contract set to finish out, it seemed fitting her whirlwind year would wind down with a stop in her hometown community.  “My mom teaches at Gill Elementary, and her class has been tracking all of our stops,” she said. “And my dad loves the Farmers Market. We go there a lot. I’m super excited to come to the market!”

We’re super excited, too.

Your market this week

And so we have a big market in store Saturday as we welcome the Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce hosting its first-ever health expo. The Chamber’s new executive director, Susan Arlin, is appreciative of the opportunity. “The Women’s Committee has been planning this for months, and we’re just thrilled to be in downtown Farmington setting up alongside the Market. This is a great way for people to learn more about the abundance of healthful resources our community has to offer.”

Participants include Beaumont Health, Henry Ford Hospital, Farmington YMCA, Beyond Juicery of Farmington, Schoolcraft Community College hosting a healthy cooking demo, Mid-American Fitness hosting a children’s hip hop demonstration and much, much more.

Meanwhile, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Mark Reitenga entertains with upbeat acoustic covers that have been pleasing market goers since 2005.   

In Riley Park, where the Wienermobile will be parked all Market day, the Farmington Elks will be grilling up Oscar Mayer wieners starting at 10 a.m., with proceeds going to charity. 

Taylor Gray will play host, handing out free Wienermobile whistles and happy to be home sharing a a slice of Americana whose roots go back to the Great Depression when Oscar Mayer felt “the country’s spirits could use a little lifting.” 

For Taylor Gray, being in Farmington this Saturday and bringing smiles to the community she grew up in will make for a memory that will last a lifetime … along with the time she went skydiving over Chattanooga in a hot dog costume.  As she says, “Everywhere I go, I try to relish the moment.”

Words to live by.