Tower Theatre Lights Up - Tower Theatre Spire Lights Up With All New Neon

On Thursday, May 10, for the first time in nearly 70 years, the Tower Theatre spire and neon ball will be lit up with all new neon lighting. At 8:30 p.m., immediately following the Taste & Toast of the Tower, council members Blong Xiong and Cynthia Sterling will give the word to light the skies with the 50-foot high neon icon for the Tower District.

Built in 1939, the Tower Theatre for the Performing Arts is the namesake of Fresno’s eclectic neighborhood, known for its unique local businesses and early 1900’s architecture. The year the theatre was built was the same year films such as “Gone With the Wind” and “Wizard of Oz” were released. The theatre was completely and lovingly restored in 1989 by owners Dotty Abbate and Aileen Coelho, and designated as a national treasure by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1993. The theatre is also listed on the Local Register of Historic Resources.

The restoration of the neon lighting was due, in large part, to a matching grant of over $13,000 from the Fresno Arts Council’s Community Enrichment Program. Over 1,000 linear feet of 24-millimeter neon tubing was used in the restoration process. Neon tubing of that size is so rare that it had to be hand made over a period of four months. The old neon was removed in August of last year and crews from Commercial Neon will be busy putting the final touches on the new neon right up to the last minute.

The lighting ceremony will begin at 8:30 p.m. under the marquee of the Tower Theatre with a brief presentation by area representatives. Then, as the Council members will give the word, the historic icon will glow anew once again.

For more information, contact the Tower District Marketing Committee at 497-8362.

CONTACTS: Miguel Arias, (559) 906-1443 Gregory Barfield, (559) 240-2632

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