MILWAUKEE — For the latest edition of What’s On Tap, WTMJ’s Sandy Maxx visited The Pabst Theater to help clean the beautiful and historic chandelier. As part of that process, she met with a spirited, longtime Milwaukee-based volunteer named Sandra Wicker, who took Sandy inside the process and even the chandelier itself.
Every year, the chandelier is lowered using a hand crank for roughly two or three days so volunteers can use environmentally friendly cleaner to hand-polish each gem individually to give it that signature shine. Paused for several years because of the pandemic, this annual tradition has returned with up to 10 people working on the chandelier at once.
So what makes it so special? Aside from its approximate 33,000 crystals, size, grandeur and history, it’s a symbol of the Pabst Theater’s rich history dating back to the late 19th century.
“This is a gem of the building. It’s the fourth-oldest continuous-running theater in the country built in 1895,” Wicker said. “We don’t have too many of these in the country anymore. People tear things down and put in a parking lot.”
Ever want to get the perfect selfie with the Pabst Theater’s chandelier? Sandra has the perfect tip for you:
“If you come to the Pabst Theater and the third floor is open, go up to the third floor, go to the center entrance of the auditorium and you’ll be at eye-level with the chandelier,” Wicker explained. “Either that, or you can come and volunteer and help us polish it. Then you can get all kinds of selfies inside the chandelier.”
Tune into What’s On Tap on Thursday, Jan. 18 to hear more, or click here to watch the video on YouTube.