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Masstown's copycat Vegas sign meant to be simply fun

Masstown Market owners Lisa and Laurie Jennings want to help draw more people to the community by stopping to take a selfie or simply enjoy the fun they intended when they erected a new sign similar to the iconic Welcome to Las Vegas Nevada sign.
Masstown Market owners Lisa and Laurie Jennings want to help draw more people to the community by stopping to take a selfie or simply enjoy the fun they intended when they erected a new sign similar to the iconic Welcome to Las Vegas Nevada sign. - Harry Sullivan
MASSTOWN, N.S. —

“Wait a minute. How did I end up in Vegas?”

Motorists navigating the roundabout in Masstown could be forgiven for having a momentary lapse of reason when they catch sight of new community sign recently erected there.

“WELCOME to Fabulous MASSTOWN Nova Scotia,” it reads.

The sign is designed to look like the iconic “WELCOME to Fabulous Las Vegas NEVADA” sign that has long been portrayed in movies and television shows and which is a must-see spot for photographs when visiting the neon-trimmed and casino-famous city.

“It’s meant to be ‘chuckle, chuckle, look at that, isn’t that funny,’ said Masstown Market owner Laurie Jennings. “It’s just a hopefully, feel-good kind of thing. It’s meant to be ‘hey look at that. Isn’t that clever? Isn’t that funny.’”

Not everyone agreed, however, as people took to social media to vent their opinions.

“I’m quite surprised with this choice as it's a completely different concept from everything in that area!” one woman wrote on Facebook.

“I love Masstown but this is just wrong,” another woman wrote, while yet another weighed in with the following: “Nice sign, but could they not come up with their on (sic) idea, instead of copying someone else’s idea?”


Sign facts:

  • The sign will not be complete until the starburst has been added. It’s in the works
  • The sign was created by Sid Sells Signs in Truro
  • The frame, which stands approximately nine-metres tall, was manufactured by Specialty Steel in Debert

But not everyone felt the sign was misplaced.

“Love your new sign!” said one Facebook post, while another supporter suggested that everyone should “Lighten up… This is marketing. It got you talking about the sign, so chances are you are not going to forget it.”

Jennings said the concept for copying the Vegas sign primarily came from his wife Lisa, while they were discussing the replacement for the weather-aged sign with the market’s cornucopia logo that had stood for years beside the road. The “Welcome to Masstown” sign is not necessarily intended to replace the one bearing the logo but simply to welcome people to the area, especially given that it does not even mention the market. But Jennings said he did want to do something different as a way of acknowledging that this is the market’s 50th anniversary year.

“There’s always something that we want to change or add or improve here and the sign is just one of those things,” he said.

And Lisa Jennings added that the sign is intended to welcome people to the community as opposed to connecting them directly with the market.

“What’s the most iconic sign that you can think of,” she said. “I heard so many people say for so many years, Masstown, where’s that? And people would say ‘oh, it’s in the middle of nowhere, like you wouldn’t believe. And it’s like an hour from Halifax but, I mean, we’re a gateway to the highest tides in the world and all kinds of history down in Parrsboro and Cape d’Or. It’s a great stopping off place for the whole bay and if we can encourage people to stop and play, then that’s good. But it’s not about us. I mean, we’ve got a hardware store here and an elementary school and young entrepreneurs, like Blake Jennings trying to promote ag awareness … . A lot of people just think, ‘oh, Masstown Market’, but it’s a whole community.”

Like it or lump it, the sign has certainly been drawing attention. Jennings said a picture posted to Facebook the morning it was being erected garnered more than 100,000 views within 24 hours.

“It doesn’t matter what you do there’s always naysayers,” he said. “It’s meant to put a smile on your face. Look at that, Masstown. I’m not trying to usurp the Village of Masstown, I mean that’s not my point at all. But I didn’t think it needed to say Masstown Market, it just needed to say Masstown. And I didn’t ask the mayor of Masstown if it’s alright, because there isn’t one. But again, I didn’t ask anybody for any money either.”

People are entitled to their opinions, Jennings said, and while he didn’t’ set out to generate controversy, at least it has people talking.

“I think it’s fine, I get a chuckle and, frankly, if it makes me happy, I like to think I’m kind of normal and average, it should make other people happy too. And I think it would be great to see people out there taking their picture like they do in Las Vegas. I think it would be funny as hell.”

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