Iconic clown sign at now-demolished Shore drive-in to be preserved

Officials say a clown sign that has smiled on motorists at a now-demolished New Jersey drive-in for two-thirds of a century will be preserved. (Google image)

Officials say a clown sign that has smiled on motorists at a now-demolished New Jersey drive-in for two-thirds of a century will be preserved. (Google image)

Officials say a clown sign that has smiled on motorists at a now-demolished New Jersey drive-in for two-thirds of a century will be preserved.

NJ.com reports that developers of a strip mall at the Wall Township site say they will donate the Circus Drive-In sign for preservation and display elsewhere.

The Route 35 drive-in, a vestige of car culture with a white-and-red striped roof resembling an old-fashioned circus tent, closed in 2017. Beginning in 1954, patrons dined in cars window-side or under a big tent during the warmer months.

Developer Circus Partners LLC bought the site then, demolished the building last year, and last week won planning board approval for the strip mall.

But attorney Tim Middleton said the red, yellow, green and white sign featuring a smiling clown’s face will be offered to the township in hopes that it will be placed on public view.

When news spread of its potential demise in 2016, a petition to save the restaurant began circulating, and thousands of impassioned supporters signed on. Another petition sought an historic designation for the site.

The establishment was known for its classic American fare and in particular, a soft shell crab sandwich. Naturally family friendly, the Circus theme menu contained such dishes as the Lion Tamer, Daredevil, and the Cannonball. The business also hosted classic car nights.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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