Giddings Plaza chosen as setting for national commercial

A Portland, OR brewery selected Giddings Plaza specifically for its fountain when they sought out a location for their first national commercial.

Henry Weinhard’s website describes a story from 1887 about its founder, Henry Weinhard himself, offering to pump his beer through a public fountain in Portland.

“The city declined citing a fear of rowdy horses,” the site goes on to explain. “They always blame the horses.”

This origin tale may just have something to do with the selection of Giddings Plaza for the setting of the commercial.

Crew members strung lights all around the trees surrounding the fountain at Giddings Plaza.

“We were looking for a medium-sized city’s fountain to film at, and we needed something controllable to shoot at night,” said the commercial’s first assistant director, who asked to be referred to as John C.

While the content of the script, or the inevitable question of whether or not the crew was in fact filling the fountain at Giddings Plaza with beer, would not be revealed by Production Manager Damian Huck, he did concede that the commercial centered around the fountain itself. He said that the production company had been given control over it for the duration of filming. Crew members strung lights from the trees surrounding the fountain Monday evening after sunset in preparation.

The overnight commercial shoot was scheduled for Sept. 23 and 24, with 12 hours of filming taking place the first night. The cast and crew slept all of Monday after the first of two long shifts.

“I’m running on about three hours of sleep,” said Huck on Monday evening. “I woke up at 8 Sunday morning and went to bed at 9:30 this morning.”

The commercial is being shot by Norman Brothers Production Company , a Chicago-based company that works here and in other cities, like LA. Huck works on commercials primarily in Chicago and said an all-night, outdoors shoot was unusual.

“Most overnight shoots are inside,” said Huck. “We’ve made a point of being as courteous to the neighbors as possible.”

Cast and crew, totaling between 70-75 people, set up temporary camp at 4753 N. Lincoln, the former location of Sprouts restaurant.

A crew of around 35 worked on the production, along with an additional 35-40 actors — a sizable crowd for an all-night production in a residential business neighborhood, Huck admitted, but proudly said no complaints had been made from night one of filming.

A police official on site confirmed this, although he did not wish to be named in this article.

“We are committed to accommodating businesses as much as possible,” said Huck. “It’s a sensitive area, coming in at night, but we never got any protest calls, and the Chamber [of Commerce] has been great.”

Huck lives in Jefferson Park but is familiar with Lincoln Square. He commended the chamber, the local fire and police departments, and Alderman Pawar for their cooperation, and also two local banks who allowed the crew to park and store equipment on their property.

Coldwell Banker allowed the cast and crew to set up an office area in the empty space at 4753 N. Lincoln, formerly Sprouts restaurant.

Huck wasn’t sure when the commercial would air, but guessed it would be within the next 60 days.

“We’re on a pretty tight schedule for getting this to post [production],” he said.

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