Fountain makes a big splash

A recent effort to raise $50,000 in 50 days to renovate the Musical Fountain resulted in resounding success, more than doubling the ambitious goal and collecting about $105,000.
Jun 13, 2013


The secret to this success story was obvious — people working together to achieve a common goal. No hidden agendas, no dissention among the ranks; just good old-fashioned fundraising. 

Do your homework, determine your need and ask people for it — and it worked!

Hats off to the City of Grand Haven, the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation and countless other organizations, individuals and families who stepped up to the plate to help get this done.

The real beauty is that the total number doesn’t reflect the very generous contributions of materials and labor made by numerous businesses to help get the job done. This allows the fundraising committee to set some money aside to address general maintenance and repairs that will surely arise.

Not everyone loves the Musical Fountain. The popularity of the new lights and the new music varies, depending on who you ask, and that’s OK. 

The point is that the Musical Fountain will go on nightly throughout the summer for thousands to enjoy. And for that, all who helped in the campaign should be proud to have been a part of making it possible.

Thank you for your overwhelming and generous support of this local landmark.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.




Am I the only one that has saw no change in the fountain since the supposed light and water upgrade? Please tell me I am smoking something.


OK, you are smoking something, if not maybe you should be. I'm assuming the anti-pot people will be arriving soon; it was a joke already! I would like to know that they are going to do with the excess funds; maybe I should ask for my donation back!


The plumbing was more of a preventative maintenance issue that we took care of (the 50-year old pipes were rotted and developing holes). Select nozzles were replaced, and once the valves are re-calibrated to adjust for wear over the years, you should notice an improvement in how the cake formations look.

As for the lighting, what the public saw during the rededication was temporarily set up for that weekend. Up until a couple days ago we were working out the bugs regarding light placement, and aiming. There were many long nights that we spent up at Dewey Hill (some as late as 3am) working on these issues to ensure the best placement of the new lights in order to light up the water as brightly as possible, while limiting how much light falls on the hillside. The result of all this experimentation results in much more contrast and brightness of the water; it also makes the water formations more visible.

Now that we have determined where the lights will be permanently installed, the work can begin to permanently mount the light units, as well as permanently installing the required electrical for them.

We have been running the old lighting system so far this year, but with a bit of luck, you should see the LED's running by July 4th.

There is a whole slew of new music coming as soon as the LED's are in use, ranging from Folk and Blues (Billy Bragg and Wilco, as well as Buddy Guy), Rock, 50's-80's hits, film music (a few Hans Zimmer pieces), kids songs, to two more dance songs. There will also be a couple more patriotic songs. All of them are programmed with the new lighting in mind, and countless hours have gone into them.

We are also working on getting back several songs and programs that have been lost over the years.

Please be patient as the changes/upgrades begin to take effect. This has been an absolutely massive project for all those involved. Most of what has been done is stuff that the public will never notice, but will make the fountain much more reliable for the next 50 years.

Finally, there are a few upgrades/fixes that have already been implemented. Some of you may have noticed that the audio system sounds much better than it did last summer and is not nearly as 'muddy' or 'boomy' as it used to be... Several damaged loudspeakers were replaced, the mixer was replaced with a much higher quality one, and there have been many tweaks to the sound system to make it sound much better, while greatly toning down how annoying the nightly music is to the residents of Grand Haven.

Additionally a new HVAC system was installed to help protect the equipment in the very harsh environment that is the underground control room.

There is a lot that was fixed or upgraded behind the scenes that while the public will not really notice, it will make the reliability of the fountain, and the quality of the shows better.


Awhile back the outspoken populous from various locations in our community were complaining about the sound from the fountain that should not reaching their homes but was. I recall you had a inexpensive cure to eliminate this annoyance once and for all. Has this fix been put in place?


I love all of the community pride in our fountain. What a great asset. Thanks to everyone who makes it possible. Thank you @signalmaintainer


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