Giant Pabst Theater chandelier comes down for annual cleaning

MILWAUKEE -- The Pabst Theater chandelier was installed in the theater in 1976, and once a year, the 2,500 pound Milwaukee treasure comes down from the ceiling for cleaning.

The Pabst Theater chandelier catches just about everyone's attention when they step into the theater. "It's amazing! When I usher here, the people who come in who have never been here just go 'wow,' and they're snapping away, and I'm like 'yes!'" Sandra Wickler, who is one of those volunteering to help clean the chandelier said.

There are 33,000 crystals in the chandelier, and each are cleaned and polished by hand! Many of those assisting in the annual chandelier cleaning project say they enjoy maintaining the theater's history. "It's our chance to make it shine, like it was meant to. Make it beautiful for a couple months, until the dust comes back. Then, by that time, it's time to do it again," Jason Millies with Pabst Theater maintenance said.

The cleaning project takes two days, but the real hard work comes when it's time to hoist the giant chandelier back up on the ceiling, using a manual crank! "It takes about 18 revolutions for one foot, so I'm up there awhile. It's 68 feet from the top to the bottom here," Millies said.