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Buckingham Fountain to open for 90th season on Saturday

Buckingham Fountain | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times File Photo

Buckingham Fountain, one of Chicago’s iconic lakefront attractions, will officially “open” on May 6 amid a host of special events and programming.

The “Switch on Summer” celebration of the fountain’s 90th birthday will feature free giveaways, live entertainment from Beatles tribute band American English and family-friendly activities from 4 to 6 p.m. The fountain will be officially switched on at 6 p.m.

More than a dozen Chicago-area cultural institutions will be represented at the festivities including the Adler Planetarium, Brookfield Zoo, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago History Museum, Chicago Sky, Field Museum, Grant Park Music Festival, House Theatre, Lincoln Park Zoo, The Morton Arboretum, Museum of Science and Industry, National Museum of Mexican Art, Navy Pier, Puerto Rican Arts Alliance and the Shedd Aquarium, according to today’s announcement.

The fountain is located at Columbus Drive and the lakefront. An official Chicago landmark, the fountain was donated to the city by Chicagoan Kate S. Buckingham in 1927 in honor of her late brother Clarence, a renowned art enthusiast. It was designed by architect Edward H. Bennett, with the sculptural elements designed by French artist Marcel Loyau based on fountains at the Palace of Versailles in France. It was officially dedicated on Aug. 26, 1927.