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Grand Haven Musical Fountain: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Grand Haven Musical Fountain is a synchronized display of water and lights in Grand Haven, Michigan located on Dewey Hill on the north shore of the Grand River, not far from the Grand's mouth at Lake Michigan and Grand Haven State Park. Shows run nightly from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Weekend shows run during the months of May and September. Shows begin at dusk and run 20 to 25 minutes

Many themes are used in the fountain's performances. The fountain's narration takes on the persona of a twelve-year-old girl. A Patriotic themed program runs each July 4 along with fireworks and a program saluting the United States Coast Guard runs yearly during the Coast Guard Festival. Fountain viewing, not including July 4th or the festival, is estimated at around 10,000 annually.


How it works

Designed by a local engineer, William Morris Booth II (who is also the patent holder), and built in 1962 by volunteers at an estimated cost of $250,000, this fountain was based on a Przystawic musical fountain show seen in Germany and was the largest musical fountain in the world when it was built. The display comprises a small number of water formations grouped in odd and even segments, with the same formations on each. Augmented by curtains of water at the back and front, a large fanlike array called the Peacock, and three fire hose nozzles - one placed vertically in the center, and the others aimed at an angle from each end - the show produces a simple Dancing Waters style display. Colored lights are arrayed along the front of the fountain in individually controllable groups in red, blue, amber and white, and the back curtain and Peacock sprays have their own lights - green and yellow for the back curtain, and two sets each red, blue and amber for the Peacock. In addition, nozzles called "sweeps" provide the moving effects, swaying side-to-side. A patented drive mechanism allows each pair of sweeps to follow or oppose each other in direction of movement, to move along long or short paths, and to move at any of three speeds, allowing the moving water to follow nearly any kind of music. The original show used punched paper cards, though computers control the new system. The nozzles and pumps have never been changed, only cleaned and cared-for; and shows must still be programmed by hand. Even with the simplest of the many programs used to create shows for this fountain, choreographing one three-minute song can take anywhere from two to four hours.

Each minute of show performance requires approximately two hours of computer programming. New shows can feature over 5000 lighting and or water commands in a 20 min. performance. Older shows averaged about 400 commands. In September 2006, the Grand Haven Musical Fountain Animated Choreographer was released to the public to encourage the development of new shows. The free software can be downloaded at


  • Width: 240 feet
  • Water basin capacity: 40,000 gallons
  • Pipe: 8,000 feet long ranging in size from ΒΌ inch to 16 inches
  • Nozzles: 1,300 ranging from 3/16" to 1" in diameter, located in the basin
  • Capacity: 40,000 gallon basin
  • Water consumption: 4,000 gallons per minute
  • Maximum height of spray: 125 feet


  • 200 lights with a combined power consumption of 125,000 watts
  • Five colors of lights are used and blended for patterns
  • New lighting in the works (2009)

Sound System Specifications

  • (32) 18", 600 watt JBL subwoofers
  • (12) High-frequency JBL horns (30"x 30"x 6' deep)
  • (14) Power amplifiers (35,000 watts total)
  • (4) Independent zones of control:
    • Equalization
    • Electronic signal distribution
    • Audio and GPI control supplied by an ENCO DAD professional broadcast audio playout system
    • Frequency dividing
    • Power level attenuation
  • About a mile and a half of cable
  • Total system output (at the shoreline) in excess of 130dB
  • Watts per channel: 12,000

External links



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