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The Grand Haven Musical Fountain and the Jeanneke Pis

Aug 16, 2008
Music in Motion : Grand Haven Musical Fountain

The Grand Haven Musical Fountain is located in Grand Haven, Michigan. The fountain displays a gorgeous fusion of water, music, and lights that come together in a fantastic sight. It is in between Dewey Hill and the north coastline of Grand River where Lake Michigan enters the Grand Haven State Park. When it was constructed in the 1960s, the fountain was the earth's biggest "musical" fountain and is still to this day one of the largest musical and light fountains in the world. The Grand Haven Musical Fountain is approximately 250 feet in length and more then 100 feet wide. Its rectangular basin carries 40,000 gallons of water and has a depth of 12 inches. The large fountain has 1,300 jets in a variety of diameters which spout water in vibrant, moving patterns.

The Grand Haven Musical Fountain was made in 1962 by volunteers who felt that the wonderful city of Grand Haven was lacking a focal point and needed a city monument. The point of construction was to invigorate the Grand Haven downtown area as well as its waterfront. The price was just under a quarter of a million dollars.

Through the various summer months, the fountain shows have varying themes and styles that constantly excite and inspire the crowd. The music ranges from classical jazz to rock and roll bringing in a unique mixture of guests. The Grant Haven Musical Fountain also has a special Fourth of July show that is joined by fireworks. This show has always proven to be a crowd favorite.

The Grand Haven Musical Fountain is only active in the summertime. It is not open during the colder months because of frigid temperatures. During the months in between May and September, there are fountain shows every weeknight and weekend. The show typically starts around sunset and lasts for 20 minutes. Although the fountain shows are only 20 to 25 minutes in duration, there are over 3,000 changes in water motion and light. The operation of the fountain is exclusively operated by computer software which takes an hour of programming time for each minute of the show.

Touring Michigan in the summer months offers a wide variety of activities for families, couples, and solo individuals not limited to the unforgettable sights, sounds, and lights of the Grand Haven Musical Fountain.

The Jeanneke Pis : Modern Art in Brussels

The Jeanneke Pis Fountain is situated in Brussels, Belgium. The fountain portrays a female child wearing pigtails, squatting while humorously relieving herself. She is leaning back on her feet and looks to be quite taken with the moment. The Jeanneke Pis Fountain, like Manneken Pis, appropriately exhibits a universal human experience, one that never fails to entertain and humor its visitors. It was created in 1985 by Denis Adrien Debouvire and is far more contemporary than her brother fountain, Manneken Pis. Jeanneke is an accompanying garden statue to the Manneken Pis Fountain, which is the national landmark of Belgium. The primary Manneken Pis Fountain was constructed in 1142, but there have been several adaptations since.

The Jeanneke Pis Fountain is very small; it stands just over a meter and a half tall and is situated at the back of a dead end road in the Rue des Bouchers district of Brussels. Butcher's street, or de Bouchers, is famous for the wide variety of European beers and wines available that can be tasted. In total, there are approximately 2,000 different varieties of beer, wine, and vintage alcohols served in the areas nearby the fountain.

It is not known why Debouvire built the Jeanneke Pis Fountain. When he was questioned, he only replied: "out of loyalty," and refused to comment further. Debouvire's refusal to elaborate created an immediate legend out of the Jeanneke Pis and became a must see for locals and tourists alike. Many hypothesize that the Jeanneke Pis Fountain was fashioned to lure more sightseers to the Butcher Street vicinity, which it certainly did. Still others claim, with a smile, that Jeanneke is a result of and pays homage to the female liberation movement. Currently, Butcher Street and the Jeanneke Pis Fountain are two of Brussel's most commonly visited locales, second only to the Manneken Pis.

Even after two decades however, the Jeanneke Pis Fountain has not been accepted by the city of Brussels. The Belgium government deliberately leaves it out of the official tour guide. Despite what motivated the design of Jeanneke, the outdoor fountain is definitely unique and has yet to be replicated elsewhere in the world. One can however, find her image on postcards and assorted keepsake items sold all through the city. The Jeanneke Pis Fountain is a demonstration to Brussels' relaxed European attitude--one of which greets guests from all over the planet with open arms and a gracious smile.
About the Author
Sarah Martin is a freelance marketing writer based out of San Diego, CA. She specializes in home improvement and gardening. For an amazing selection of garden fountains and outdoor water features, please visit http://www.garden-fountains.com.
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