The Stephen’s Meat Products “Dancing Pig” Sign: On Its Journey to Downtown West
Dec 09, 2022
The Stephen’s Meat Products “Dancing Pig” sign is a fixture of San José’s modern history. This fall, the sign began a new chapter in its connection to the city with its temporary relocation to History Park. The sign has been installed at the museum park alongside other historic neon signs and buildings while it awaits its return to the site of Downtown West. To commemorate the historic sign, we took a look back at the 74 years since it was first installed.
When he first opened Stephen’s Meat Products in 1948, owner Stephen Pizzo marked his new business at 81 Montgomery Street with a whimsical neon sign that has since become a lasting addition to the San José skyline.
The sign, now affectionately known as the “Dancing Pig,” features a neon pig who appears to dance as his trotters flash against the dark sky. In the post-war boom when car usership popularized across the country, eye-catching signs like the Dancing Pig were the fashionable way to attract drivers to local businesses. The Dancing Pig, and others like it – including San José’s Orchard Supply Hardware and Westside Billiards signs – have maintained a special place in residents’ hearts decades after.
Now, as Google and Lendlease prepare the future Downtown West site for construction, the sign has begun a new chapter in its storied history. On October 6, 2022, the Dancing Pig was temporarily relocated to History Park, where it will remain on public display during construction of Downtown West. After construction is complete, the Dancing Pig will return to the site for the community to continue to enjoy.
To commemorate the relocation of the sign, the Preservation Action Council of San José (PAC*SJ) and History San José hosted a celebration on November 19, 2022. On the warm fall evening, over 400 people gathered at History Park to witness the beloved sign come to life in its interim home. Friends of the Dancing Pig and historic sign enthusiasts came to enjoy food and refreshments, view demonstrations from local sign artists, and of course, to see the relighting of the sign in its new temporary home. Together, San José residents, Mayor Sam Liccardo, and many other community members watched the sign flash to life as the sun set.
Downtown West is honored to be part of this evolution and looks forward to welcoming the Dancing Pig post-construction.