Fremont Street’s Iconic Vegas Vic Gets Love at Last
Following months of complaints from this blog and members of the public, the owners of Vegas Vic have finally stepped up to bring the iconic neon sign back to life.
Vegas Vic was completely dark for months, but a nudge from the City of Las Vegas, prompted by public kvetching about Vic’s condition, kicked much-needed repairs into motion.
Local sign wizards YESCO (Young Electric Sign Company) have nearly completed the task of lighting Vegas Vic up again.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Vegas Vic, a clear indication you may not be Vegas enough, all due respect, the classic neon sign sits atop the Pioneer gift shop on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.
Like most things in Las Vegas, he’s at his best at night.
Sorry, ladies, Vic is married. He was actually wedded to Vegas Vickie, now on display inside Circa Las Vegas, twice. (Fun fact: There was ongoing debate about how Vegas Vickie was spelled until we changed it to Vickie in Wikipedia, and it’s been spelled “Vickie” ever since.)
While Vickie was enhanced (yes, the parts you’d suspect were enhanced if you know anything about Las Vegas) when she was restored, Vic looks the same as he has since he was erected in 1951. Insert “erected” joke here.
Here’s a closer look at Vegas Vic now that he’s had some work done. Hey, it’s Vegas.
Keeping Vegas Vic lit has been an ongoing battle with the folks who own the building where the Pioneer gift shop resides.
The building owners, Schiff Enterprises, pretty much ignore Vic’s condition until they’re forced to address problems. We wrote about a similar scenario back in 2019.
These days, thanks to a lot of incredible people with far too much free time, our Twitter account has a much bigger reach and things started to shake loose when we created the #FixVic hashtag in Jaunary 2023. Our initial Tweet was about a SlotZilla zipline rider who required a “retrieval” because they got stuck (lighter riders sometimes don’t have the momentum to get to the landing platform, so an employee zips out on the line to reel them in), but Vic was in the background and he just looked sad.
If you don’t make it all the way, take consolation in the fact you’re light. Semi-related: #FixVic pic.twitter.com/8VWRlYsdXB
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) January 15, 2023
In April 2023, the City of Las Vegas Tweeted, “We’ve received multiple comments about the Vegas Vic sign not being illuminated. Our Code Enforcement team responded and found the sign to be in violation of our municipal sign code. A correction notice was issued to the owner on April 24.”
The Code Enforcement Team seems as neglected as Vegas Vic! You, go, Code Enforcement Team!
We’ve received multiple comments about the Vegas Vic sign not being illuminated. Our Code Enforcement team responded and found the sign to be in violation of our municipal sign code. A correction notice was issued to the owner on April 24. pic.twitter.com/u3Yp1fDS4S
— City of Las Vegas (@CityOfLasVegas) April 25, 2023
Props to the City for making such a public announcement of its recognition of Vegas Vic’s plight, and the commitment to getting it rectified.
In mid-May, YESCO got to work, giving Vic the care he so richly deserves. That we all deserve, really.
The east-facing side of Vic appears complete, the west side is looking much better as well (and may very well be finished by the time you read this).
Vic’s animated cigarette and winking eye are back in action!
Big thanks to everyone who joined us in using the #FixVic hashtag, and others who let the City of Las Vegas know Vic’s deteriorating condition couldn’t be tolerated.
Yes, he’s old, but if you own property on Fremont Street, there are contractual obligations to adhere to the sign rules. Frankly, if you have to be forced to do the right thing, you’re probably not a good fit to own property along Fremont Street.
Fremont Street isn’t simply a street, it’s a destination and a state of mind. When Vic goes dark, there’s significantly less glitter in “Glitter Gulch.”
Vic’s been through a lot over the years. The legend is he was shot with arrows by actor Lee Marvin, noted grouch and sign bully.
Vic lost his voice over time. He used to say “Howdy, podner,” and later “Howdy, podner, welcome to downtown Las Vegas.” The message was changed for special occasions like Christmas and St. Paddy’s Day. Hear Vic’s voice.
Vic also lost the movement in his arms.
Then Vegas Vic had about three feet of his hat trimmed so he could fit under the Fremont Street Experience light show screen. The indignity!
Neon is slowly being replaced by LEDs, so we need to preserve what we have left. Vegas Vic is among the top three symbols of Las Vegas—along with Vegas Vickie and the Las Vegas welcome sign—so we need to protect him and ensure he continues to glow and welcome “podners” downtown.
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