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Bring on the warmth: Buckingham Fountain flows anew

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Updated: May 2, 2013 2:34PM

If Buckingham Fountain is on, can summer be far behind?

Chicago Park District officials and representatives of Sears Holding Corp., March of Dimes and Kmart were on hand Thursday in Grant Park for start of the fountain’s 86th season.

Children who benefited from March of Dimes as babies were on hand for the event, which also served as the kick-off for fundraising for the 30th anniversary of the partnership between March of Dimes and Kmart, a statement from the Chicago Park District said.

During the season, the fountain shoots water from the center jet 150 feet into the air daily from 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Beginning at dusk, it is accompanied by a 20-minute light and music show every hour.

For years, the fountain was manually operated by two engineers who worked 12-hour daily shifts, according to the park district. Although the evening light show was automated in 1968, the water continued to be manually operated until 1980, when the operation was fully computerized. From 1983-94, the fountain’s computer was located in Atlanta. It is now on-site with a monitoring system in northwest suburban Arlington Heights.

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