Arrived at the Fountain around 8:15 AM and a number of people were already there and more kept coming. First thing noticed was the new roundabout as you approached the Fountain, very nicely done.
By the time 9:30 rolled around there was about 200 people or so (my best guestimate) and the ceremonies began. The Mayor addressed the crowd followed by Warren Jones, Don Redman and Taylor Hardwick, the original Architect for Friendship Fountain and park.
For videos of the the Opening Ceremony speeches please visit YouTube.
Then as the Fountain jets began to ramp up the Mayor invited everyone to throw a coin for good luck into the Fountain (the City provided nickels to everyone) and with that the Music began and the Patriotic program began to run and you could hear the Ohhs and Ahhs as the different elements of the renovated Fountain began to show themselves.
I got to meet a number of folks during the Grand reopening, Beth Slater (twitter newzgrrl) and her boyfriend and Carrie (twitter CarrieMcLaren) and her Husband as well as a dozen others... Folks I am notoriously bad about names and faces so I apologize if I met you yesterday and didn't mention you by name.
Two new additions to the Fountain landscape were unveiled yesterday, two plaques placed in the North West and North East corners.
All in all I thought it was a great day for the City of Jacksonville and Friendship Fountain.
To see all the pictures I took just visit this link.
The current plans are for the patriotic program to be run each evening from 8:30 PM to 10:00 PM and from past experience you do not want to miss getting to see the Fountain in full color at night.
Speaking of night time my wife and I took a trip back down to the Fountain last evening and we were amazed when we arrived as there had to have been 200 - 300 people all around the Fountain, every bench was occupied, couples and families were sprawled out on the grass on all sides of the Fountain, it was simply amazing at the number of people that were present.
Kids were playing everywhere and everyone seemed to be taking pictures of either the Fountain or of Friends or loved ones using the Fountain as a back drop, it was simply amazing...
Jacksonville please welcome back Your Fountain with it's New renovated Park and I hope that you not only get a chance to visit but visit often and enjoy.
Also don't forget that this is Your Fountain and property and if you note anything that needs attention please let the City know or at least let me know so it can be passed on, it is up to Us to make sure our property is maintained and operated properly :)
Till next time,