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Buckingham Fountain makes its annual splash to herald summer

Buckingham Fountain was turned on for the season Saturday. Chicago Park District

With the flick of a switch, the Chicago Park District brought back summer Saturday night, turning on Buckingham Fountain at 6 p.m. in an annual ritual that’s come to herald summer’s start in Chicago.

Now in its 89th season, the Chicago landmark at 301 S. Columbus Dr. — given to the city in the mid-1920s by art patron and philanthropist Kate Sturges Buckingham in honor of her late brother Clarence F. Buckingham — was dedicated on Aug. 26, 1927.

One of the largest in the world, the lakefront Grant Park marvel will shoot its water plumes from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily through mid-October.

Crowds turned out Saturday as Buckingham Fountain was turned on for the season. Chicago Park District
Crowds turned out Saturday as Buckingham Fountain was turned on for the season. Chicago Park District

It produces a major water display for 20 minutes every hour, during which a center jet shoots water to a height of 150 feet into the air. At dusk, light and music accompanies the display until 10:35 p.m.

An aerial view of the Buckingham Fountain in 1946. Chicago Park District photo
An aerial view of the Buckingham Fountain in 1946. Chicago Park District photo