In a Facebook post this week, the August Schell Brewing Co. (which owns the landmark alongside the Hennepin Avenue bridge) said:
“If you are interested in being a part of the action, we will be offering a limited number of commemorative packages in which you can buy a bulb! Along with a certificate stating which letter you helped to restore, you will also receive a T-shirt and porcelain Grain Belt sign.”
The package costs $100.
The New Ulm beer company bought the sign 15 years ago and there’s been a push to restore it ever since. The refurbishing process included replacing the neon tubes and 1,100 incandescent light bulbs with LED lights.
The sign was originally placed over the Marigold Ballroom at 13th Street and Nicollet Mall, now the Hyatt Regency Hotel. In 1950, it was moved to its current location along the riverfront. The sign was lit, then dark and re-lit several times over the years, but hasn’t been illuminated since 1996.