Son of Corndog Man

From the East Oregonia
Sunday, December 5, 2004
Article by Dean Brickey

Bernard Lind with Linds Concessions Lind takes over where his father left off with portable food-vending business

PENDLETON - Santa Claus and corndogs go hand in hand in Pendleton, according to Bernard Lind, who might also be called "Son of Corndog Man."

Lind and his wife, Julieanne, have returned their food-vending business to Pendleton for the holidays. It's their 34th year at Melanie Square and the first since his father, Francis "Frank" Lind of Umatilla died last April.

Bernard Lind grew up in Umatilla with "The Corndog Man." He remembered that his father was working at a mobile hom manufacturing plant in the late 1960s when he was laid off just before Christmas. That was the beginning of the vending business, which featured corndogs, cotton candy and popcorn. He has continued his father's traditions, and even improved upon a few of them.

For example, Lind's father had a wooden stand from which he sold his treats. When he first set up at Melanie Square in 1970, he was on the sidewalk in front of a retail store for a few weeks before the manager of the former PayLess store invited him beneath the store's awning.

He gave up on the popcorn after a few years," Lind said, remembering that all his father had for warmth was a propane heater. Cold popcorn didn't sell well, he said.

Lind will never forget the winter of 1978, when the temperature plunged to 22 degrees below zero just three days before Christmas.

"He was still out there, selling corndogs," Lind said. "And Dad was a real stickler to stand and greet the customers with a smile. He built up a good business and a good relationship with his customers."

It paid off, he said, noting that customers return every year, eager to buy corndogs, funnel cakes, elephant ears, caramel apples and other treats. The Linds' business is open in Pendleton from the weekend before Thanksgiving to Christmas.

"The people who are coming out here are the one whose parents brought them here as kids," he said.

For the past four years since his father retired, Lind and his wife have pulled a trailer and opened it as a concession stand for the 46 weeks a year they're on the road. Their schedule varies from year to year, but they frequent county fairs, rodeos, balloon festivals and other events, including the Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon every September. After Christmas, they're headed to McCall, Idaho, for the Winter Carnival there.

Lind said the appearance of his trailer in place of his dad's stand put some people off at first .They thought another vendor had taken "The Corndog Man's" place and they walked by without stopping. But after Lind hung up an enlarged picture of his father at his corndog stand and put up signs similar to those his father had, the customers started coming back.

"These corndogs can't be beat," Lind said, noting that his father's secret batter recipe is what makes his product so popular.

"I don't care where you go, you'll never find a better corn dog than what we've got," he added. "I'm thinking about patenting it."

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