August 8, 2019 – West Bend, WI – The iconic West Bend sign in front of the Historic West Bend Theatre will be re-lit Thursday, Sept. 5.
As part of the “Light Up the Bend” ceremony, the board of directors of Historic West Bend Theatre, Inc. (HWBT) ask the community to help fund the renovation of the 1929 Art Deco structure into a performing arts center and community gathering place.
“We have come a long way toward raising the necessary funds, a goal of about $3.5 million, but we need everyone’s help,” said Nic Novaczyk, HWBT president.
The relighting event will start at 5:30 p.m. Former employees of the theatre will be recognized and a short history will be presented. The actual re-lighting will be at 6 p.m.
Poblocki Sign Company took down the perimeter-lit sign over the marquee in December 2018 for a complete overhaul. Called “the blade,” it will to be re-hung in mid-August in time for the relighting.
Supporters will have three ways to contribute to the restoration campaign. The first is to buy a bulb for $100 to help pay for the refurbished “blade,” selling out the words “WEST BEND” in capital letters with 470 bulbs, and the marquee, which is lit by an additional 194 bulbs, for a total of 664.
The second part of the campaign is the sale of shares in the non-profit corporation for $200 apiece. “It worked for the Green Bay Packers, and we hope the sale of stock works for the theatre,” said Dan Dineen, HWBT board member and corporate counsel.
The stock offers no dividends or capital gains. “It does offer a sense of ownership in the restored community asset,” he added. When you buy a share of “The Bend,” your name will be placed on our donor board.”
The shareholders can vote annually for one member of the board of directors. Twenty-four shares have already been sold.
The third community fundraiser is the sale of 325 seats at $300 apiece. The “Seat the Bend” dollars will allow the purchase of comfortable period-appropriate seats for many kinds of events.
There are 125 seats on the main floor and 200 seats in the balcony.
The original 1929 movie and vaudeville house had 400 seats on the main floor and 227 in the balcony.
Patrons can combine all three donations in a $500 package for one light bulb, one share of stock and one seat.
Contributors can make their donations on-line at www.historicwestbendtheatre.com or in person at 102 N. Main Street, West Bend.
All donors will receive a booklet on the history of the former “movie palace.”