What do you think of Grand Haven City Council's decision to say no to the Holiday Road light show on Franklin Avenue?


Mark Brooky

Grand Haven City Council said no Monday night to the proposal to stage the Holiday Road Light Show along Franklin Avenue. The story will be in Tuesday's Tribune.




While we respect what must have been a difficult decision by the Grand Haven City Council; we are deeply disappointed that the Holiday Road Light show will not be moving forward. Due to the decision made today Holiday Road Light Show is being permanently retired.

We sincerely thank those who have put their support behind us. We want to say a special thank you to the residents and business owners who offered up their homes and businesses for the display.

It is heart breaking that we will not be able to raise substantial funds for Special Olympics Area 12 athletes and that a family tradition will not be available. We wish Special Olympics the best and hope that the community will now pull together to help fill in the funding gap they now face. We encourage everyone to make a donation to the Special Olympic Polar Plunge.

Holiday Road Charities, Inc.
Board of Directors


Pretty sad . . . I have always been both sensitive to the private property owner's that were impacted by these projects and pretty impressed by the scope of the projects.

I thought that the Franklin Street location was the best proposed so far from an atmosphere standpoint.

The Mayor seems to be off on the connection between more traffic downtown and the merchants. Based on her logic, wouldn't downtown merchants be clamoring for the cancellation of Coast Guard Festival because it brings too many people downtown?

On the other hand, I am disappointed with Brad's response. It is understandable that he would feel this way, but a better approach would be to quietly resign in a couple of days after having the opportunity to cool down. It appears the resignation timing and style was largely about showmanship. And that is sad.

Back to the Wall

I have to agree with you. Brad's STATED objectives have been noble, but this latest tantrum seems to indicate there was more at work than simple altruism.

As a propertry owner with straight line vision to the proposed site, and with business ties to downtown, I wasn't ready to shut the door, but had serious traffic concerns.

Brad was not interested in adressing the traffic concerns of the neighborhood, but was more than willing to attack and call names to anyone who questioned his design. His ego has spoken, but ego is not the way to succeed in public relations.


I am also concerned that the Musical Fountain software was taken from the city as part of this deal as well: http://ghmfsoftware.com/ ... It is amazing that an asset consistently promoted using city facilities was not protected from this type of pirate action?


Once again, know the facts. The ghmfsoftware.com domain name has never been a part of the city. They do not own it, pay for hosting, or maintain it. All expenses for the domain and hosting over the years has been out of my pocket. If they wish to purchase the domain they can have it at cost.

The city has a copy of the install program and is free to put it on whatever site they wish. Mr. Swarts has not denied the city use of the software. The city has never paid one cent for the package or had any input to the development.

Mr. Swarts developed it himself and maintains the copyright on the software. He put it out to the community of his own free will.

pirate |ˈpīrət| noun
a person who attacks and robs ships at sea.

It's hard to rob something that you own.

And for those who say he should just give it to the city free of charge, I ask you did Bilz upgrade all of the plumbing for free? No. Is Erickson Electric donating all of their time while upgrading the new Allen Bradley system and running new wires. No. Are they also pirates for their actions?



Brad, You don't need to defend yourself or play into these baseless accusations. People will always twist it around no matter what you say. I thank you for your efforts and wish for you much success in your future endeavors.


Also, I enjoyed volunteering at Holiday Road a few years ago in spite of the cold nasty snow. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity! :)


Well that's a bummer if the software is not going to be utilized for the fountain any longer...I was looking forward to attempting to develop a couple tunes with dancing water over the winter months....would've been fun to do it and even more fun to possibly see my efforts in action.

Sounds more and more like the city fathers cut off their noses to spite their faces, again.


Develop away, Mr. Swarts updated the web site to reflect that there will be no new development of the software. But the existing software is still available.


Ok, guess I don't understand what the point would be then, if there's no one there who knows how to run the software, or is that not the case? This is a confusing situation, sorry to be thick about it.


The software is very easy to use and has full documentation. There are two parts to the process.

Part 1.
The show creation software that is on ghmfsoftware.com is used to create the choreography and the control file that will be used at the fountain. The software that is there now has been around for years and programmed the water and old lights.

The fountain only could produce red, blue, amber and white. But with the LEDs we now had 16 million possible colors but no way to tap into them fully. As a work around Jim modified the playback software (part 2) to allow color mixing. For example blue + amber = green, red + white = pink, blue + white = cyan.

It works but still does not allow you to get the full range. He was working on a version that would have allowed custom color pallets for every song and a new interface for better programming the lights. This is what he has stopped working on. So instead of a 256 pallet you can get 16 right now. But as you noticed this summer, you can do a lot with 16 colors.

The site was taken down for several hours, changed, and put back up with a link to the current version. The site now reflects there will be no more updates.

Part 2.
The playback software is up at the fountain and runs on a Windows XP box. The software plays a music file and and outputs the codes from the control file created by the choreography to the Allen Bradley system and DMX lighting. The software also has the ability to create play lists. So on any given night there is a playlist that has X number of songs and the operator simply presses play to start the show.

This software had to have major changes this year so that it could handle the legacy lights or the new DMX based LED lighting. Now it had to send one set of commands out a serial port, and another out a USB port to a DMX controller.

The software also had to be updated to handle the new TCP/IP protocol required by the new Allen Bradley control system being installed right now.

Despite accusations none of the existing software has been denied from the city or removed off the playback system. Shows will go on and there was never a risk of not having shows.


Thanks for the feedback Brad. I will play with the software version I have and see what I can do over the course of the winter months.

While I understand your fustration all too well, I still wish there'd been a way to get all the facts out to the public before everything came to a screeching halt. It seems that this is simply another case of the few trying to shove their agenda down the throats of the many.
I'm still completely baffled by the downtown store owners position on the Christmas light show. Given that it seems they don't want too many customers gracing the doors of their businesses, it's easy to see why so many fail within a year or two of opening.
The short-sightedness of most of the players in this drama is amazing and I'm certain at this point they wouldn't want my business either. Not to worry, I'll go elsewhere in the future.


I agree with Polarize, Brad you don't need to defend yourself. What I don't get is why people would try to slander you at all. Don't people realize there is a committee and countless number of volunteers that work on this project every year. I appreciate you, Brad for putting yourself out there as a caring individual who loves to help great causes. You have given more time and patience to people then some of your critics realize.
Because of Mr Boyink, I have had the opportunity to volunteer with some of the most caring, selfless individuals I have ever had the privilege to get to know. The relationships I was able to create through volunteering the last few years at Holiday Road I will cherish for years to come. I am saddened by all the drama people are creating, all because they clearly don't understand the impact of such an amazing project. A project that brightens the season for so many families.


Hey Geri, Read this very carefully: I am not going to vote for you ever again. I am no longer your consituent. Credit where credit is due, you have a tough job and it's not always easy. But really, in the end its just a holiday light show, and for the kids. Do you even have a heart?


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