GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Due in part to the pandemic, the Grand Haven Musical Fountain only had three pop-up shows in 2020. An issue with the power board in the fall also cut the season short.
This year, organizers are preparing the fountain for the summer season. They are not officially announcing an opening night, as to not draw large crowds to the area amid the pandemic. However, they said it should be up and running daily by Memorial Day.
"Right now, in the pandemic, we don’t want three or four thousand people," said Terry Stevens, the fountain's engineer, "but we are anxious to have some shows and provide some entertainment. I'd say some much-needed entertainment."
Stevens was up at the fountain Tuesday, running through some tests and doing maintenance work. He said last week, they found an issue with one of the sweeps, which he fixed.
"This is a 60-year-old fountain," said Stevens. "Originally had its first show in 1962. So, a lot of the infrastructure is old, and continual maintenance is needed to update things."
Stevens said there is a lot of technology that has to work together, and it is a "constant battle" to keep some parts going after 60 years. However, he's hopeful and confident it will continue to work for years and years to come.
Most of the work done on the musical fountain is volunteer work. As Stevens and a partner worked, he said the Community Foundation painted the pump house and speaker structures.
"We’ve done extensive testing last week, and we believe we’re ready to go any time now," said Stevens. "Grand Haven is known for lots of things, but the musical fountain is a landmark tourist attraction."
Stevens said his favorite part of the fountain is the "helix" feature. It's a water shoot on a spinning wheel, shooting water 50 feet high, twirls and looks like a huge garden sprinkler. Grand Valley State University engineering students designed and built the feature as part of a project. They added that and a feature called "the wave" to the show. Both are featured in some of the newer song performances.
To learn more about the musical fountain, and for future scheduled events, visit their website here.
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