The annual St. Patrick's Day "Greening of the Fountain" in Fountain Hills is Wednesday, March 17 at noon. This yearly event dates back to 1979 when several locals bet they could dye the fountain green and then water-ski around the fountain three times. Since then, no boats have been allowed on the lake in Fountain Park, but thousands come to Fountain Hills to see the world's fourth-tallest fountain shoot a stream of emerald green water up to 560 feet when running at total capacity.
The show is also viewable on the town's webcam at www.experiencefountainhills.org/fountain.
The fountain starts with no dye. The jet spray turns emerald green after injecting the color into the stream. It takes 55 gallons of coloring for the water to turn green. The dye causes no harm to the water, which irrigates the surrounding park and is home to a variety of wildlife.
The fountain was built in 1970 in Zürich, Switzerland, by Robert P. McCulloch, developer of the town, as an attraction to draw new residents to the community. Another of McCulloch's master-planned communities featured the reconstruction of the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, completed the following year.
Three pumps push the spray as high as 560-feet. However, the third pump is used for special events and as a backup for the other two pumps. At its full height of 560 feet, the fountain is taller than the Washington Monument. It is also three times as high as Yellowstone Park's Old Faithful. The recognizable white plume is visible far beyond Fountain Hills and is viewable from the Superstition Mountains, Carefree, and aircraft. The fountain runs every day of the week and every hour on the hour for 15 minutes from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.