Grand Haven Musical Fountain forced to shut down early

Ottawa County

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — 2020 strikes again, this time on the lakeshore.

The Grand Haven Musical Fountain Committee has announced shows have been canceled for the rest of the year.

Committee member Ryan Strayhorn produces the shows for the fountain. He explained on Facebook that the main transformer that powers the pumps and motors that fuel the fountain has blown and needs to be replaced. The repairs are expected to take at least six to eight weeks.

“I would say almost every week that we’re operating, something new happens and it’s just kind of the name of the game,” said Strayhorn.

Strayhorn says a new transformer was donated and installed in the fountain less than two years ago but had a malfunctioning part. He says the transformer replacement will not cost the city or donors anything because the part needed is still under warranty.

However, Strayhorn does expect economic impacts on local businesses due to the cancellation of the remaining shows. He says themed shows at the fountain brought in thousands of people while nightly shows often attracted crowds upwards of 300 people.

“In terms of economic impact on the local economy? It’s huge! Our businesses definitely thrive when we have our themed shows and given the fact that we haven’t been able to run those themed shows to bring thousands to Grand Haven, they have suffered,” said Strayhorn.

The fountain didn’t start shows until August due to the pandemic. During the average year, the shows start in the spring. To discourage large gatherings, the fountain committee decided to host shows at random, unannounced times. They performed four shows this summer, but two were interrupted by electrical problems.

Strayhorn said the committee had planned to continue shows into October. They were set to debut two new themed shows, including one dedicated to Jimmy Buffett. Those will be held for next year.

“The fact that we aren’t able to make people happy, bring smiles and joy to people is a bummer and I’m looking forward to being able to do that once again,” said Strayhorn.

They plan to open next season May 7.

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