Special 60th Anniversary Show for Grand Haven’s Music Fountains
For generations, people have been heading to Grand Haven to stare at Dewey Hill just after dusk each night. They wait patiently for a single stream of water to shoot up in the air and make the announcement: "Good Evening and welcome, I am the Grand Haven Musical Fountain."
How The Grand Haven Musical Fountain Got Its Start
The Grand Haven Musical Fountain was the brainchild of Dr. William "Bill" Creason. He was a longtime resident of Grand Haven. While serving in Germany for the U.S Navy after World War II, he saw a musical fountain show. The show was in a Berlin nightclub and featured a small fountain and an organ situation along a 12 foot stage. After returning to Grand Haven, Bill went on to become the mayor of the city and worked to bring a much larger, 200 foot Musical Fountain to life. (Dr. Creason passed away in 2014.)
The fountains were designed by a local engineer named William Morris Booth II. He still holds the patent on the musical fountains. In 1962, volunteers constructed the largest musical fountain in the world at the time. (In 1998, the fountains at the Bellagio Casino and Resort in Las Vegas became the largest musical fountain.) It cost an estimated $150,000 to build the Musical Fountain back in the early 60s. Today that would be equivalent to about $1.5 million.
Growing up the Musical Fountain had a very distinct voice. It was that of Ron Hartsema. He was part of the original Musical Fountain committee. From 1962 through 2006 he created, produced, and recorded over 200 original musical fountain programs.
How the Musical Fountain Works
The fountains are a series of nozzles and jets that produce the dancing waters display. See the fountains during the day is not nearly as impressive as how they look at night, after the water is illuminated by colored lights. The original shows used punched paper tape to control the movement of the water and the lights. The musical fountains have since been updated to a computer controlled system.
With the computer system, shows can now features over 5,000 water and lighting commands in its 25-30 minute performance each night.
Celebrating 60 Years
This year the Musical Fountain is celebrating 60 years. There is a special show planned for Saturday, August 27th to reminisce about the 6 decades of the dancing water fountains on Dewey Hill through music, stories, history, jokes, and a surprise or two. The show includes 13 songs including 6 from TV shows or movies. The show will begin at 9:05 pm. Prior to the show, from 6-9 pm there will be a community celebration with a magician, face painting, balloon animals, "Frozen" dancers, cupcakes, and more.
The best place to see watch the Grand Haven Musical Fountains is at the Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium.
Here is a great story on the Musical Fountain from Fox 17...