About the Grand Haven Musical Fountain
Grand Haven Musical Fountain
Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium
1 N Harbor Drive, Grand Haven, MI 49417
The Grand Haven Musical Fountain is the best waterfront attraction in Grand Haven. If you’re planning on visiting Grand Haven this summer, you’re going to want to add this amazing Ottawa County attraction to your bucket list.
The Grand Haven Musical Fountain is the best way to celebrate summer – every night. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, this amazing water and lighting show is one of the most popular outdoors activities in west Michigan.
The best part? Since the show takes place atop Dewey Hill in Grand Haven you can watch it from just abour anywhere in the area! Sure, you can head to the free, downtown waterfront stadium, but if you can see Dewey Hill, you can see the nightly show!
Read on to learn more about the amazing dancing lights of the Grand Haven Water Fountain!
See Grand Haven’s Dancing Water Fountain
Similar to the Christmas light displays that dance along to popular songs, this musical fountain puts on
a light and water show that is mesmerizing and entertaining for the whole family. Camp out at
the Grand Haven State Park for a day on the beach. Later, watch the sunset over Lake Michigan. Follow up your perfect day with a show from the Grand Haven Musical Fountain.
This beach town has so much to offer! You’ll be able to relax after a long day in the sun by watching these incredible dancing water shows.
Happy Birthday to the Grand Haven Water Fountain
This famous fountain in West Michigan is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this summer. Bring the family and boat, paddleboard, skateboard, or just walk up to the waterfront stadium to enjoy the show.
The fountain will be performing each night at dusk from Memorial Day through Labor Day, free of charge.
History of the Grand Haven Musical Fountain
There are three main people responsible for bringing this attraction to Grand Haven; Dr. William Creason is the creator, William Morris Booth II is the designer and engineer. The voice of the fountain is Ron Hartsema. He personally created and produced over 200 original fountain programs since the fountain’s beginning in 1962.
All three of these men were locals to Grand Haven and passionate about creating something that would be a long-lasting part of the city’s waterfront. He actually got the idea for the fountain when he was in Germany during WWII, providing dental care to US soldiers. He saw the 12-foot Przystawic musical fountain show and knew that he wanted to bring something similar to his hometown.
The engineer and patent holder, William Morris Booth II, designed the fountain to be the largest musical fountain in the world in 1962. It cost an estimated $50,000. The work and labor put into building the fountain was donated mostly by volunteers who were residents of Grand Haven.
About the Grand Haven Musical Fountain
The Przystawic fountain was the muse for the Grand Haven musical fountain had water that rose 12 ft high in the air. However, thanks to students of the School of Engineering at Grand Valley State University, the Grand Haven Musical Fountain’s water reaches 50 ft in the air.
The sequences created by the different nozzles are known as the Peacock, the Wave, the Rings, the Candelabras, and the Sweeps. When all of these features come together in a perfectly choreographed dancing water display, the effect is truly mesmerizing. It is a beautiful show by itself, but the music that it’s paired with makes it even better.
Nightly “regular shows” from the fountain are choreographed water dances that match a wide variety of popular songs that the whole family will recognize. Be sure to check their website for the calendar to find your favorite “Theme Show” where they perform some of their most famous renditions. Theme Shows take anywhere from 30 to 60 hours to produce and program, so only one or two are released per year.
My favorite is of course “Frozen 1, 2 Live!” because that is one of my favorite Disney movies of all time. The songs are iconic by themselves and seeing them at the fountain is a whole new level of amazement.
Science Behind the Grand Haven Musical Fountain
The entire production, from designing shows to producing and programming them, is highlytechnical. Since the fountain has been around for 60 years, it has made huge changes to its process. The original set up was an 8-bit CNC paper punch tape and a reel-to-reel audio tape. It was replaced 20 years later with a RadioShack personal computer.
This setup will sound foreign to anyone under 30. Trust us when we say it’s impressive what they could do back then. The software they use now has definitely improved their system and cuts down on the time it takes to create amazing shows. It also allows them more opportunity for bigger and better exhibits, so they still end up putting in the same amount of time that the crew did in the 60s and 80s.
In fact, when they upgraded some of their equipment in 2005, they actually lost their original theme shows because those programs couldn’t transfer into the new software. So, every theme show you see now has been originally created in the last ten years, when they started to create new theme shows in 2014.
Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival Fireworks
The Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, held every August, is one of the top summer festivals in Michigan. A highlight of the festival is the fireworks, held in front of the musical fountain.
You don’t want to miss any opportunity to stop by the Grand Haven Musical Fountain. It will be a new experience each time with all of the different songs and shows. Maybe, you’ll even see a surprise ship floating by on some nights.
If you feel inclined afterward, donate to the fountain to keep it available for the next families to enjoy. Volunteers and residents of Grand Haven provide the upkeep for the fountain every year because they love that it is a historic part of their city.
This local attraction was created, produced, and built by locals – intended to be enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. The fountain is free every night. It is a gift from the original committee for everyone who happens to see it.
For six decades the fountain has been enjoyed by everyone who sees it, and the city of Grand Haven intends for it to be enjoyed for many decades to come.
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About the Author
Casey Johanson is a senior at Grand Valley State University and is passionate about writing and reading. An avid traveler around Michigan, Casey enjoys gardening and running. Her favorite places are typically the hidden beaches and secret scenic overlooks throughout Michigan that most people don’t know about. She loves trying to find places that people haven’t been before and loves writing about those places even more.