BROOKINGS – A new, three-dimensional painted folk-art cast metal sculpture of the “parrot of the prairie” reclaimed its original roost on the roof of the Pheasant Restaurant and Lounge on Wednesday.

Above, Mayor Keith Corbett climbed onto the restaurant’s roof for the Wednesday unveiling and Chamber ribbon-cutting to reveal the new, giant Chinese ringneck pheasant, sculpted and painted by Curt and Darla Wieneke of Windom, Minnesota.

When The Pheasant Cafe first popped up amidst prairie farmland outside of Brookings in 1949, the building was crowned with an 8-foot folk-art rendition of the business’ namesake and South Dakota state bird.

As part of a series of commemorations celebrating the destination’s 70 years in business, that crown returned to its original, historic perch.

“It’s just such a fun part of the Brookings story that we want to give back to the community. My grandmother and I have been conspiring to surprise my grandfather with this. They’ve owned The Pheasant since 1966, but the bird sculpture wasn’t up there when they took over. He’s only seen it in pictures. It’s a full-circle thing,” Johnson said.

Johnson said it was the artist, not knowing the history of the restaurant, who approached The Pheasant a few months ago about creating a pheasant sculpture for the business. He added that the public’s reaction to the new sculpture has been fantastic.

Corbett said the city did what it could to make idea reality by reaching out to its engineers to make sure putting the bird on top of the building didn’t violate any FAA rules due to the nearby airport.

COURTESY OF: The Brookings Register

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