Tomorrow at midday Chicago’s beloved Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain will return to life signaling the imminent arrival of summer. Every year the majestic sculptural landmark is turned on during a “Switch on Summer” celebration and begins imbuing Grant Park with magic all through summer to mid-October.
One of the largest in the world, it runs from 8 am to 11 pm daily with major water displays shooting water 150 feet into the air for 20 minutes every hour on the hour. At 10:35 pm the fountain takes it up a notch and a stunning light and music display accompanies the hourly spectacle to wrap up the day.
Tomorrow, Saturday, May 13, Grant Park will celebrate the fountain’s annual return from 12 pm to 3 pm with a “perfect family-friendly event” including activities, entertainment, delicious local food, fun giveaways, special guest appearances, and live music.
The 9th annual “Switch on Summer”, is free and organized by ComEd in partnership with the Chicago Park District. According to the ComEd release, the event will feature “appearances by beloved children’s characters and special performances by 1980s cover band Sixteen Candles, Angel Meléndez & the 911 Mambo Orchestra, and The Jesse White Tumblers.”
ComEd will also reportedly be providing information on free resources for the community, including summer STEM education programs and tips from Energy Force ambassadors.
Inspired by the Latona Basin at Versailles, the Buckingham Fountain has been delighting visitors since May 26, 1927, and is now only a few years shy of its centenary celebrations.
The architectural treasure contains 820 lights, 133 jets, and 3 pumps including the original motors and pumps from when it was first installed.
Over 14,000 gallons of water are used per minute for the fountain’s major displays but with water being recirculated from the 280 feet-wide base pool, no water other than that lost to wind goes to waste.
Considered one of the finest ornamental fountains in the United States, the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain was donated to Chicago by Kate S. Buckingham in honor of her brother Clarence Buckingham.
Today it is both a designated Chicago Landmark and a key reason Grant Park is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
More information about the fountain can be found at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com.
[Featured image from Shutterstock]