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Welles Park’s Friendly Vendors

By Cody Prentiss | Thursday, June 10, 2010

(From L?R) Delia Malone and Erin Lange work the hot dog cart in Welles Park. Photo by Cody Prentiss.

Name: Erin Lange

Where does she live: North Park

Where we saw her: Selling hot dogs at a cart in Lincoln Square’s Welles Park, where she has worked for four years.

What issue concerns you most right now with the neighborhood?
I would have to say there are very few things that bother me about this area.

Were you the first person to run this stand?
No. This particular stand has been here for 30 years, and this is our fourth year running it. The original owner retired and handed it off to my friend Liz. There?s a picture of her right here, and you can thank her for all of the Irish decorations, because she and her husband were very Irish.

What do you really like about the neighborhood?
I can walk around here anywhere, and for the most part, people are very friendly. I never feel like I?m going to be robbed because I?m standing here. A lot of people come by and chitchat regularly. I like all of the different events, the sports, and all the people that play sports. I have a couple of older gentlemen who come by and tell me jokes and stuff like that. [One] guy comes by and brings me McDonald?s. He goes with all his pals to the McDonald?s and sits there for hours drinking coffee?one cup of coffee. He might bring me home a dollar sandwich. See how it?s all muddy here? He usually brings cardboard or wood or something, so we don?t get our feet all dirty. There are people that come by with their dogs, and we give them treats. We?ve made a lot of friends here.

Did you envision working at a hot dog stand four years ago?

I?ve worked at a hot dog stand since I was 11 years old. Up in Grayslake, at Avon Township Youth Baseball. I worked there at the concession stand. We did hot dogs, nachos, candy. We had soda fountains and stuff like that. It was a little more elaborate. The cart, though, I don?t know?my first day I was actually kind of humiliated and was like, ?I don?t know if I want to do this.? You get a lot of funny glances like, ?How novel! A hot dog cart!? They?ll snicker at you. I put a book over my face and hide.

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