After a one-year hiatus, ComEd will again team up with the Chicago Park District to turn on Chicago’s iconic Buckingham Fountain as part of the annual “Switch on Summer” event, which celebrates the arrival of summer. A virtual celebration will stream live at Facebook.com/ComEd starting at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 22.
Last year, because in-person events could not be held in Chicago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ComEd and the Park District symbolically “switched on” Buckingham Fountain with an online recap of previous years. This year, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot will help bring the fountain back to life, joining WGN-TV Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling, who will again serve as the event’s emcee, and ComEd CEO Joe Dominguez.
“ComEd and its 6,200 essential workers are privileged to serve Chicago’s neighborhoods, and we’re so pleased to join Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago Park District to safely bring back the tradition of turning on Buckingham Fountain for the season,” said Dominguez. “It is our honor to officially mark the coming of summer in Chicago as families and businesses slowly begin to get out and enjoy the city after a long year of pandemic living.”
This year’s return of Switch on Summer is part of Mayor Lightfoot’s Open Chicago initiative announced April 29 to safely and fully reopen the city.
“‘Switch on Summer’ has long been one of the most iconic events to help mark the beginning of summer here in Chicago," said Lightfoot. “I am thrilled that we are finally able to bring this exciting event back in a way that is not only safe, but supportive of our ongoing reopening initiatives. I want to thank ComEd and the Chicago Park District for their partnership and look forward to bringing our famed Buckingham Fountain back to life.”
A ComEd sweepstakes winner will be the one to revive Buckingham Fountain with the flip of a switch – signaling the return of this longstanding Chicago tradition. This year’s honors will be performed by Dominique Lalrinzuala, a ComEd customer from Orland Park, Ill. Lalrinzuala was selected via an online sweepstakes that asked entrants to answer three ComEd energy-related trivia questions and will be introduced by Skilling.
“I’ve looked forward to the day when I could return to help ComEd and the Chicago Park District safely celebrate the coming of summer at one of the greatest cities,” said Skilling. “For many of us, the turning on of Chicago’s iconic Buckingham Fountain is such a symbolic way to celebrate this wonderful occasion.”
Buckingham Fountain, the centerpiece of Grant Park, will celebrate 94 years of calling Chicago’s “front yard” home and serving as a backdrop for memorable summer experiences in Chicago. The “Switch on Summer” celebration is especially important this year because it also signifies a safe return to summer activities in Chicago and the fountain’s impressive hourly water displays and nightly light and music spectacle.
“For almost a century, the reawakening of the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain from its long slumber is undoubtedly one of the premiere summer kick off events and serves as a symbol for all the fun and joy that comes along with summer in Chicago,” said Chicago Park District CEO & general superintendent Michael P. Kelly. “We are excited to team up with ComEd to ‘Switch on Summer’ and safely reopen one of the city’s most popular destinations.”
For updates on this year’s celebration, visit ComEd.com/SwitchOnSummer.
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 100 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
About the Buckingham Fountain
The Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain officially opened to the public on May 26, 1927 and was dedicated on August 26, 1927. The Fountain is the centerpiece of Grant Park—Chicago's "Front Yard." Architect Edward Bennett (1874–1954) designed the monument in collaboration with French sculptor Marcel Francois Loyau (1895–1936) and engineer Jacques H. Lambert. Inspired by the Latona Basin at Versailles, the structure comprises four basins clad in elaborately carved granite and pink Georgia marble. The Buckingham Fountain, however, is twice the size and re-circulates approximately three times more water than its French counterpart. Chicago's fountain is also unique as it symbolizes Lake Michigan. Conveying the enormity of the lake, its major display uses as much as 15,000 gallons of water per minute and sprays water to a height of 150 feet from the ground. For more information, visit chicagoparkdistrict.com and facebook.com/thebuckinghamfountain.