Ceres was unveiled Friday, just 238 vertical feet away from being fully back home in Jefferson City after a year of conservation work to restore and protect the statue of the Roman goddess.
Ceres — the 10-foot, 4-inch, 1,407-pound bronze statue atop the Missouri Capitol depicting the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships — returned to the grounds of the Capitol on Thursday but was sheltered under a green tarp until being unveiled Friday afternoon.
The bronze female figure of the hour spent most of the past year at the Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio Inc. in Forest Park, Illinois, as part of Chicago-based Bulley & Andrews Masonry Restoration's work on the Capitol.
Two men of the hour, Gov. Mike Parson and Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, had the honor of pulling off the tarp and revealing the restored Ceres to the public.
The statue is on the southwest lawn of the Capitol, just off High Street and across the street from the Missouri Supreme Court.
Ceres will have constant guard by the Capitol Police until public viewing ends, said Mark Hill, the Office of Administration's director of the department's Facilities Management, Design and Construction office.
The statue, behind a square of chainlink fencing, will be taken down early in the morning Monday and brought back into the Capitol construction site, according to information from the OA.
There was not yet a set time and date for Ceres to be lifted back to the top of the Capitol, but it's been anticipated by the OA previously that will be sometime the week of Dec. 16.
Hill said the work to re-install columns that support the lantern structure Ceres stands atop of has to be completed first.
The number of people who viewed Ceres when she was taken down from the Capitol last year was not counted — and it hadn't been thought of to count the people who will view her this weekend — but a small crowd was already gathering Friday at the time of the unveiling.
Peggy Kolb was with her grandsons, Bergen Jacobek and his younger brother Bridger Jacobek, who both attend St. Peter Interparish School — Bergen in fourth grade and Bridger in first.
The older brother had seen Ceres being taken down from the Capitol, while Bridger had not.
"I think she's wonderful," Kolb said, adding she's "so glad to have her back where she belongs."
Addilyn Thornhill, 6, got to shake hands at the event with Parson, Kehoe and their wives, first lady Teresa Parson and Claudia Kehoe.
Addilyn, who was with her mom, Angie, said Ceres was "cool," and bigger than she thought.
Angie said the family made the two-hour drive from Kirksville to see Ceres unveiled. "They did an amazing job of buffing it out," she said of work to remove evidence of lightning strikes on the statue.
More information about the Capitol project is available at capitol.mo.gov/construction. Ceres also has her own Twitter account, @Ceres_MO.