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Making Progress on the Marquee! August 8, 2016

Hopefully you’ve been following along this summer as the refurbishment of the Tennessee Theatre marquee and vertical sign has progressed. We are close to completing this exciting project and want to share an update with you.


The 8,000 pound vertical sign was removed from its perch above Gay Street very early on the morning of June 7 by Pattison Sign Group.  Pattison, an international sign company with its U.S. headquarters here in Knoxville, transported the vertical sign on a flatbed truck to Heath Springs, South Carolina, for a detailed overhaul in its 110,000-sf manufacturing facility.  All of the electrical systems have been updated, and every single light socket has been cleaned and prepared for the new-generation, energy efficient LED light bulbs to be installed.  All parts of the sign have received a fresh coat of paint, and it will soon be re-assembled and transported back to Knoxville for its re-installation. We visited the facility last week and got to see the work in action!


Each electrical socket is cleaned by hand.

Each electrical socket is cleaned by hand.


Meanwhile, on Gay Street, the Pattison team has been hard at work on the marquee. All of the old light bulbs were removed, and sockets have been cleaned and repaired.  New electronic message boards were installed, so announcements about shows and events at the Tennessee will be displayed clearly and brightly. Damaged portions of the marquee were removed for repair, and the framing is getting its new paint, bringing it back to pristine condition. The last step will be to install the new light bulbs and test the repaired electrical circuits.


New message boards being installed.

New message boards being installed.


We are close enough to completion that we’re announcing the celebratory open house and re-lighting ceremony for the Tennessee Theatre marquee and vertical sign. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, August 31, for this free event – the public is invited!  That evening, there will be backstage tours of the Tennessee Theatre and another chance to sponsor a light bulb or buy a commemorative ornament, before we all gather in the street for a final countdown to flip the switch and see the lights shine brighter than ever.  We’ll share more details soon on social media and here on the web site event calendar.  We hope to see you there! If you’re not able to come, we’d still love your support to help us fund this expensive project.  Click here to sponsor a light bulb and purchase other items that will offset the cost of the marquee and sign refurbishment.


marquee update 2

One of the blade letters, freshly painted and lit for the first time with new LED bulbs.


The vertical blade during the painting process.

The vertical blade during the painting process.


Blade letters after a paint job. (Photo by Bruce McCamish Photography)

Blade letters after a paint job. (Photo by Bruce McCamish Photography)


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