Puppet Ice Cream Truck!

stacey gordon standing in the door of her old fashioned ice cream truckWe are REALLY excited about this ice cream truck! It's currently getting renovated, but we hope to get it out into the world by Summer of 2021! Once it's ready, the truck is going to be used to bring socially-distanced, outdoor workshops to you and your small group out & about the Phoenix, Arizona area!  

The Story 
(scroll down to the bottom for an FAQ if Story-Hour isn’t your jam) 
The idea for the truck seemed like a natural progression for all of the puppet food that gets created at Puppet Pie. First the idea was to just turn Puppet Pie’s booth at the Phoenix Comicon into a cafeteria-like experience—which has slowly been happening year, after year. Then, after one fateful breakfast at a local diner, a vintage ice cream truck was spotted, and the yearning for the Puppet Food Truck was born. Photos were taken, drool was drooled, and dreams were met with a stark reality that maybe such a dream was a bit more than practical—but that didn’t stop the incessant research! I would take the truck to approximately 7 events/year and serve up puppets that look like popular food-truck items! (I mean, for real, I already make half of the stuff already!)
A lovely drawing of a converted vintage travel-trailer served as inspiration for a modified, seemingly more attainable version of the dream. Lots of trailers were looked at, and a few even narrowly slipped through our fingers—but ultimately we’re grateful for that slippage because it led us back to the diner and back to those vintage trucks we fell in love with more than a year and a half ago.  We met with Conrad, who restores vintage step vans & has a passion for keeping these beauties on the road. He happened to own one particular truck I had been drooling over online (that was more within my price range, but still a stretch).
On a warm day in early January of 2020, I took a trip out to visit the truck of my dreams—and then took a few days to try to find anyone to tell me this was a bad idea.  My parents supported the idea, my in-laws supported the idea—even my extremely practical friends enthusiastically supported the idea! I looked at the coming year & all of the events that were planned and realized that the truck could be purchased by the end of March and fully funded by the end of the summer, meaning that the truck could possibly be ready to bring to events like Phoestivus or First Fridays by November. So I set a breakfast date at the diner with Conrad to give him a down payment the next morning.

Little did I know that early the following morning I would receive a phone call telling me that my mom was in the ICU and not expected to live. The little truck of my dreams had sold while we were away with family, but thankfully Conrad had another truck, nearly identical that needed a little TLC. Looking at everything coming up, it looked like I could not only afford the truck and the TLC, but that I might still be on track for November! 
How young and naive we were back then. I couldn’t enter into a pandemic, knowing that this purchase could put my family in financial jeopardy, so I pivoted to mask-making to keep a roof over Puppet Pie’s head, and dipped into the truck fund to get the mask-making going (which is surprisingly not inexpensive!). Conrad assured me that the truck would wait for me, and I told him to be sure to let me know if other people were interested, just in case.

Fast forward to early July 2020 when Conrad let me know just that. I had a decision to make. That’s when both my dad and an extremely practical friend had the idea to use the truck to continue doing the work I could no longer do in my studio until it’s safe to return. Brilliant! We figured out the finances to make the initial truck purchase, and by the end of July the little ice cream truck was mine!

All of the in-person events that earn the majority of my income had all been canceled (conventions, speaking engagements, workshops, street fairs, etc.), so I hosted an online fundraiser here on my website, in hopes that people are just as excited about this as I am.  So if you missed out on some of the fun at conventions & want to contribute by way of purchasing a slightly more expensive enamel pin, or getting a handmade ice-cream puppet to stick on your fridge—or even just purchasing *anything* from the shop—literally everything I earn is going to end up going toward the truck (after the other bills are paid, of course!) until the renovations are fully funded!


Q: Are you going to drive around and sell ice cream?
A:  Probably not,although I am considering it! Instead I'll be using the truck to conduct all kinds of puppet-y business, including selling puppets that look like ice cream.
Q: Are you going to have any ice cream at all???
A: If you book the Puppet Pie Ice Cream Truck for your event, I'll bring popsicles for everyone!
Q: What are you using the truck for, then?
A: During the Covdian Era, we'll be offering socially-distanced, outdoor workshops for small groups in patrons’ front yards, driveways, and parking lots. 
Q: What about after life gets back to normal?
A: Good question! We'll use the truck to sell puppets that look like food that you'd get from a food truck. That was the original plan all along when we started seriously looking for a truck in the summer of 2019.  We’ll also offer birthday party packages that include full workshops or just getting served ice cream by a puppet.
Q: But are you going to sell ice cream then?
A: Yes, we’re installing a small chest freezer for treats like popsicles.
Q: Does the truck play the ice cream music?
A: It will, eventually! There are a lot of expensive renovations that are a higher priority for now, but we hope to eventually play the new RZA ice cream jingle!
Q: Will you be doing puppet shows out of that great big window?
A: We hope to! We'll start by offering workshops, and thanks to a generous grant from the Arizona Office of Arts and Culture, we have a show for the truck in development!
Q: Where will you travel? Will you come to my state that isn't Arizona??
A: Right now it looks like we'll be keeping this treasure local to the Phoenix-Metro area. No road trips planned anytime soon.
Q: Are you getting rid of your studio?
A: Nope! The studio is staying as it is--and it's definitely getting used a lot right now; it's just not open to the public during the Covidian Era.
Q: When will it be finished???
A: We are close enough that we’re booking Fall events!
Q: What kind of truck is it?
A: It's a 1973 Chevy P20 that began its life as an actual ice cream truck! We think it was last used as an ice cream truck in 2014.
Q: I want to help! Are you doing any kind of fundraiser for it?
A: Yes! You can contribute here!  For the official fundraiser, we'll have exclusive ice-cream-truck masks, magnets, puppets, and more! And know that if you buy anything from Puppet Pie, you'll be helping to keep our small business going and fund the truck! 
Q: Where can we see progress photos of the truck?
A: You can follow along on our Instagram feed or our Facebook page!

Stacey Gordon and 3 girls are in front of the puppet pie ice cream truck. The truck is white with a red awning. Two girls are sitting to the left at a table. One of them is eating an orange popsicle, the other is making a puppet. Stacey and another girl are standing to the right of the photo and laughing at a joke the girl just told with her puppet.
Photo by Madison Kirkman, courtesy Phoenix Magazine