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'Pillsbury's Best Flour' sign is relit in downtown Minneapolis

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Call it a red letter day for the Minneapolis skyline.

After a yearlong restoration project, the historic 30-foot-tall Pillsbury sign – the bright red glowing letters that spell "Pillsbury's Best Flour" – was re-lit Monday evening after five years in the dark.

The switch was flipped around 6:30 p.m.

There was no official ceremony planned, but the Mill City Times invited people to an official "unofficial" gathering on the Stone Arch Bridge to watch as the sign was lit up again.

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According to a blog entry from Pillsbury owner General Mills, the iconic sign – which hadn't been turned on since 2010 – was reinstalled in a project that began in October, with some notable (but not noticeable) upgrades.

As decades of exposure to the elements had taken their toll on the gargantuan letters, the sign had to be refurbished with brand-new aluminum backing to prevent rust in the future.

Additionally, the signature bright glow has been brought into the 21st century with more energy-efficient and eco-friendly LED lights.

This video sheds a little more light on the process:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTIqenPKCdU

General Mills says the sign was first erected in 1940.

But putting it back was "no easy task," the company adds – because some of the larger letters stand 11 feet tall, reattaching them took some extra time.

Meanwhile, the building the sign calls home – the defunct Pillsbury A-Mill facility – is in the process of a large-scale transformation into artist lofts.

According to the A-Mill Artist Lofts website, the mill was once the world's largest and is "one of only three Minneapolis structures designated as a National Historic Landmark."

The sign was taken down last year when the renovation of A-Mill began, according to WCCO.

“It’s an amazing structure in itself but having the original Pillsbury sign back up there – that’s been a part of the landscape of this neighborhood – is going to be heralded by everyone,” A-Mill Artist Lofts official David Lepak said in the General Mills blog. “The sign gives the building its full identity."

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