The Rive Rivers Fountain of Lights operates from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. This is what it looked like last Labor Day weekend.
Photo: Connie Post
Photo: Connie Post

How to enjoy Dayton's Fountain of Lights

To kick Memorial Day weekend, Five Rivers MetroParks will turn on the Fountain of Lights on Friday morning.

"We've already fired it and it's a wonderful display," said Paul Williams, Five Rivers MetroParks regional park manager. Williams oversees RiverScape, Deeds Point and Island MetroParks. "You won't see anything around that mimics the display when it's running. This year is going to be a treat because we're able to light the spires again."

Five Rivers staff plan to have the fountain running no later than 8:56 a.m. on Friday, and it will run each hour for the remainder of the day.

Dayton's most prominent summertime feature is not only beautiful; it's also an engineering feat. Here are nine things to know about it:

1. The Fountain of Lights operates daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

2. During daylights hours, the fountain will run for 8 minutes each hour, coming on 4 minutes before the top of the hour. During the week, it will operate from 6:56 a.m. to 9:54 p.m.

3. It’s been part of Dayton’s cityscape since RiverScape MetroPark opened in 2001.

The Fountain of Lights can be enjoyed from Deed Point, where statues of Wilbur and Orville Wright face the river. Photo by Connie Post

4. The Fountain of Lights is one of the largest fountains in the entire world.

5. The fountain’s five jets represent the five regional rivers: the Great Miami River, Mad River, Stillwater River, Wolf Creek and Twin Creek. There’s also a geyser in the middle of the fountain.

6. Water from the fountain shoots up about 200 feet in the air and 400 feet across where the Great Miami and Mad Rivers come together just north of downtown.

Lots of water -- 20,000 gallons -- will shoot through the Fountain of Lights every hour that it operates this summer. Photo by Connie Post

7. A whopping 2,500 gallons of water shoot through the fountain each minute. The water comes from seven wells.

8. After sunset, fountain spire lights with rotating colors come on. The antiquated lighting has been replaced, Williams said, and the new system "sets us up to do some special lighting, such as for the Celtic Festival."

9. For safety reasons, wind sensors prevent the fountain from coming on and interfering with area traffic.

On Saturday, RiverScape will be starting up its Interactive Fountain (splash pad) at 11 a.m. The snack bar and bike rental hub will also be open.