Culture

Could the Dancing Pig sign stay at History Park permanently?


The iconic Dancing Pig sign was unveiled with significant fanfare last Saturday at San Jose’s History Park — the temporary vacation home for the restored neon beauty while Google begins construction on its Downtown West project.

The hastily organized festivities were a true celebration of all things signs, with artists Tom Colla, Eddie Ramirez, Jorge “J Duh” Camacho, Ben Henderson and Suhita Shirodkar showing off their work. Heather David, co-founder of the San Jose Signs Project, was there with the new, fifth anniversary edition of the project’s guidebook. There was even a stand selling old-fashioned hot dogs made with Stephen’s Meat franks.

The Stephen’s Meat Products “Dancing Pig” neon sign was re-lit during a celebration at History Park in San Jose on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group) 

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo stopped by, and the guests included Linda Morrison, whose dad was Stephen’s Meat owner Stephen Pizzo. The 82-year-old Almaden resident was surrounded by her children and grandchildren as they watched the sign be re-lit after sundown.

And throughout the evening — which concluded with neon demonstrations by glass artist Kevin Chong at the Bay Area Glass Institute studio — one question kept popping up on people’s lips: Couldn’t the Dancing Pig sign just stay at History Park? It’s not a bad idea, given the park already has one historic neon sign on display, the Orchard Supply Hardware “arrow” sign, and has others in storage just waiting to be seen.

Linda Morrison, right, the daughter of Stephen’s Meat Products original owner Stephen Pizzo, poses with her daughter-in-law, Kim Morrison, left, and daughter Jeanne Whitaker, center, at the Dancing Pig sign party at History Park in San Jose on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group) 

Google — which owns the sign — had it dismantled and transported to History Park to protect it from damage during construction of the Downtown West project. But when that’s over, the sign is supposed to return to a spot near the Montgomery Street location where it had stood for more than 70 years — outlasting even the meat company building it advertised.

A lot can change between now and whenever it’s safe for the sign to return downtown, but Google’s position is that the sign preserves a connection to the past for the Downtown West site. And, company reps say, having something that is part of San Jose’s history there is important when so much of the surrounding infrastructure will be brand new. (One hopes that point is remembered if demolishing or diminishing the historic Diridon Caltrain station becomes an issue.)

But for now, people can visit the Dancing Pig sign among the trees at the Kelley Park historical museum. There’s only one snag: It was re-lit using a generator for Saturday’s celebration; the sign itself is not yet connected to the park’s power system, so it’ll stay dark until that happens.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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