Unique Business Spurs Downtown Park

Antigo has been home to a unique business for more than 60 years, and now it is host to an equally unique downtown park.

Dean and Polly Blazek have developed the park on a vacant lot at Fifth Avenue and Clermont Street at the center of the downtown district, erecting historic and rare signs, some of them dating to the days before Blazek was born.

We wanted to do something for the community, the Blazeks explained. They have taken steps to keep the signs erected and the neon blazing for years to come.

We also wanted to leave something to the community, they added.

There is a wall of signs, a large billboard that changes with the season. For example, it now promotes donations to the Salvation Army during the holiday season.

Blazek has operated Northern Advertising for 63 years, erected hundreds of roadside signs, became an artist with neon, has instructed new benders and written books on the trade and artistry of the medium.

We wanted to do this to keep the signs as part of Antigo’s history, they explained.

Blazek has been collecting a massive assortment of signs for three decades and some of them are on display.

There are signs ranging from beer, one of the big users of neon, to Mobil Oil’s Pegasus.

There are only two of one kind of sign, Blazek explained. That’s for Blatz beer in honor of his father, Walter, who distributed it here for 40 years.

If you travel Fifth Avenue, you will see the park with the Garden Club’s plantings and the Christmas tree that went up this week.

The Blazeks have transformed a shabby vacant lot into a stunning park with an interesting history. It isn’t to be missed.

Dean and Polly Blazek at their historic sign park in downtown Antigo.

Dean and Polly Blazek at their historic sign park in downtown Antigo.

Source: Antigo Daily Journal