Julie Ann’s will be debuting its new frozen custard truck at Crystal Lake’s Lakeside Festival.
Pete Wisniewski, the grandson of Julie Ann’s founder John Zielnicki, has been looking for an old truck since 2015. He found a ’53 International Metro with a working original engine in New Hampshire in 2017 off a Facebook group, he said.
Wisniewski has been putting in a lot of work on the truck with help from the community for the last year, and they are almost ready to show it off, he said Tuesday.
The truck needed a complete restoration – which cost $40,000, including the price of the truck – to be used as a food truck. Sinks and a freezer were added so the truck can be used for celebrations such as weddings, graduation parties and festivals. When the truck isn’t traveling, it will be in Julie Ann’s parking lot.
“Doing a lot of festivals, it’s really hard setting up a lot of tables and tents and have a really cool experience, so we wanted to do something where it was a lot easier for us to manage,” Wisniewski said. “We just wanted to give the town something that was a lot of fun.”
Zielnicki started the business in 1985 at Routes 31 and 14 in Crystal Lake, and although the business has changed ownership within the family throughout the years, he still runs it today with his daughter Linda Anderson.
He was inspired to open the shop by his son-in-law, and he named the shop after his first granddaughter.
Zielnicki, who’s now 95, was 61 years old when he and his wife, Mary Zielnicki, first opened the shop.
“I love the business,” John Zielnicki said, adding he still goes in most days to do paperwork.
Julie Ann’s has been at its current location, 6500 Northwest Highway, for 9 years.
John Zielnicki said he’s excited about the truck, which he wouldn’t have without the help of his grandson.
“Pete has been working round the clock, 24 hours a day trying to get it ready,” Anderson said. “It’s really pretty... It’ll be fun, and people will love to see it.”
To see the truck, visit Lakeside Festival, which starts at noon on Thursday and runs through Sunday. For more information and to purchase tickets go to lakesideartspark.org.