grand haven musical water fountain

Discover the Grand Haven Musical Fountain

Grand Haven Musical Fountain

Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium

1 N Harbor Drive, Grand Haven, MI 49417

Experience the Grand Haven Musical Fountain, the ultimate waterfront attraction in Grand Haven. If you’re planning a visit to this picturesque destination during the summer, make sure to add this extraordinary Ottawa County gem to your must-see list.

The Grand Haven Musical Fountain is the perfect way to celebrate summer every night. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, this captivating water and light spectacle is one of the most popular outdoor activities in western Michigan.

What makes it even better? Since the fountain is situated atop Dewey Hill in Grand Haven, you can enjoy the show from virtually anywhere in the vicinity! While you can choose to head to the free downtown waterfront stadium, if you can see Dewey Hill, you’re in for the nightly performance!

Continue reading to delve into the enchanting world of the Grand Haven Musical Fountain’s mesmerizing dancing lights!

grand haven musical fountain

Experience the Dancing Water Fountain of Grand Haven

Much like the enchanting Christmas light displays synchronized to popular songs, the musical fountain in Grand Haven offers a captivating water and light show that will mesmerize and entertain the entire family. Spend a day on the beach at Grand Haven State Park, relishing in the sun and sand, and later, marvel at the stunning sunset over Lake Michigan. Complete your perfect day with a spectacular show at the Grand Haven Musical Fountain.

This delightful beach town has so much to offer! Unwind after a long day under the sun by witnessing these incredible dancing water shows.

grand haven musical fountain

Happy 60th Anniversary to the Grand Haven Water Fountain

This renowned fountain in West Michigan is commemorating its 60th anniversary this summer. Bring your family and enjoy the show at the waterfront stadium by boat, paddleboard, skateboard, or simply by taking a leisurely stroll.

The fountain will grace the night sky with its performance every evening at dusk, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and the best part is that it’s free of charge.

The History Behind the Grand Haven Musical Fountain

Three remarkable individuals played pivotal roles in bringing this attraction to Grand Haven: Dr. William Creason, the visionary behind its creation; William Morris Booth II, the designer and engineer; and Ron Hartsema, the voice of the fountain. Since its inception in 1962, Ron has personally crafted and produced over 200 original fountain programs.

All three of these men were local residents of Grand Haven who shared a deep passion for creating a long-lasting landmark for the city’s waterfront. Dr. Creason drew inspiration for the fountain during his time in Germany, where he provided dental care to U.S. soldiers during World War II. Witnessing the 12-foot Przystawic musical fountain show, he knew he wanted to bring something similar to his hometown.

Engineer and patent holder William Morris Booth II designed the fountain, aiming for it to be the largest musical fountain in the world in 1962. It came at an estimated cost of $50,000. The construction of the fountain relied heavily on the efforts of volunteers who were Grand Haven residents, generously offering their time and labor.

grand haven fountain

Exploring the Grand Haven Musical Fountain

The Grand Haven musical fountain draws inspiration from the Przystawic fountain, which featured water jets reaching a height of 12 feet. However, thanks to the students from the School of Engineering at Grand Valley State University, the Grand Haven Musical Fountain now boasts water jets soaring 50 feet into the air.

The sequences created by the various nozzles include the Peacock, the Wave, the Rings, the Candelabras, and the Sweeps. When these elements combine in a meticulously choreographed aquatic display, the result is truly mesmerizing. The show is already stunning on its own, but when paired with synchronized music, it becomes an even more remarkable experience.

The nightly “regular shows” of the fountain present choreographed water dances perfectly synchronized with a wide array of popular songs that the whole family will recognize. Be sure to check their website for the calendar of events, which includes special “Theme Shows” featuring their most famous renditions. These theme shows require anywhere from 30 to 60 hours of production and programming, making them a rare treat, with only one or two released each year.

As for me, my personal favorite is undoubtedly “Frozen 1, 2 Live!” as it showcases one of my all-time favorite Disney movies. The iconic songs themselves are magical, but witnessing them at the fountain takes the experience to a whole new level of amazement.

Grand Haven Musical Fountain

The Science Behind the Grand Haven Musical Fountain

The entire production process, from designing shows to production and programming, is highly technical. Over its 60-year history, the fountain has undergone significant technological advancements. The original setup involved an 8-bit CNC paper punch tape and a reel-to-reel audio tape. This was eventually replaced, twenty years later, by a RadioShack personal computer.

For those under 30, this setup might seem foreign. Nevertheless, it’s truly impressive what they were able to achieve with the technology available at the time. The current software they employ has undoubtedly enhanced their system, reducing the time required to create astounding shows. It also provides them with greater opportunities for larger and more impressive displays, while still demanding the same level of dedication and effort as the crew put in during the 1960s and 1980s.

Interestingly, when the fountain underwent equipment upgrades in 2005, they unfortunately lost their original theme shows as those programs couldn’t be transferred to the new software. Therefore, all the theme shows you witness today were originally created within the last decade, starting from 2014 when they began producing new theme shows.

Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival Fireworks

The Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, held annually in August, stands out as one of Michigan’s premier summer festivals. One of the highlights of this festival is the dazzling fireworks display set against the backdrop of the musical fountain.

Grand Haven Musical Fountain

Don’t miss any opportunity to visit the Grand Haven Musical Fountain. Each visit promises a fresh experience with a range of different songs and shows. Who knows, on some nights, you might even spot a surprise passing ship.

If you’re inclined, consider making a donation to support the fountain’s upkeep, ensuring that future generations can also enjoy its splendor. Every year, dedicated volunteers and Grand Haven residents come together to maintain this historic landmark. This local treasure was created, produced, and constructed by the locals, intended to be cherished by both visitors and the community. The fountain’s nightly shows are a gift from the original committee to all those fortunate enough to witness its magic.

For sixty years, the fountain has delighted everyone who has laid eyes on it, and the city of Grand Haven intends for it to continue captivating audiences for many more decades to come.