EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – An iconic Evansville sign set for a facelift will have to wait a little bit longer due to it’s historical nature. Joe Hardesty, owner of Big Top Drive-In, says the restaurant has been informed that the sign is one of the oldest in Evansville, and due to that status, the Evansville Public Art Commission has requested the sign be restored to its original condition by a professional curator.

“We have had to pause the contest, if you will,” explains Hardesty, “because of the historical factor, to make sure it is done with the curation method.”

The contest, mentioned by Hardesty, is in reference to a previous social media post by Big Top where the restaurant was seeking artists to revamp the clown sign that has been a west side landmark for decades. Hardesty will now search for a curator instead as the restaurant aims to preserve the clown sign for generations to come. The plan, according to Big Top, is to also incorporate movement in the sign, stating that the clown’s arm once moved during the sign’s original inception.

Patrons like Tasha Anderson and her family are eager to see the finished product, which is set to be completed and unveiled by the end of 2022.

“When you see Big Top, you always think of the clown,” says Anderson. “So it would be awesome if someone repurposed it and did something new to it, make it fresh.”

Hardesty says the restaurant is also in the process of making physical restorations to the building, which will include neon lighting around the restaurant, as well as original lettered signage on the building.