Empowering Communities

Buckingham Fountain makes its first splash of the year at ComEd’s Switch on Summer event

May 30, 2023

For the ninth year, ComEd partnered with the Chicago Park District to welcome residents and visitors to celebrate the unofficial start of summer by turning on Buckingham Fountain. The annual Switch on Summer event featured emcee and WGN-TV Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling, ComEd CEO Gil Quiniones and Chicago Park District General Superintendent & CEO Rosa Escareño. All greeted the crowds around the iconic landmark on the cloudy, yet breezy, 13th of May.

“At ComEd we strive to support events and programs that celebrate Chicago’s vibrancy and its diversity. Our Switch on Summer event is a continuation of this effort,” said Quiniones. “It was a thrill celebrating the arrival of the city’s most dazzling season in historic Grant Park.”

ComEd collaborated closely with the Chicago Park District and dozens of arts, education, and cultural community partners to bring one of Chicago’s oldest attractions back to life for the season, while also educating residents about park district programs that are set to launch this year across the city. Moving to the rhythm of Angel Meléndez & the 911 Mambo Orchestra and 1980s cover band, Sixteen Candles, eventgoers hopped from tent to tent, partaking in family-friendly games and activities while learning about various summertime offerings.

“We were excited to team up with our partners at ComEd for the 9th edition of Switch on Summer, and we can’t wait for the 10th anniversary celebration, which we expect to be filled with as many families, friends and neighbors gathering to enjoy amazing activities, including live music, games and plenty of giveaways,” said Escareño. “This outdoor celebration, in honor of our iconic Buckingham Fountain, has quickly become Chicago’s signature unofficial start of summer event, and the Park District’s informal kick-off for our Night Out in the Parks cultural event series, which will feature more than 700 events in parks citywide.”

ComEd once again invited customers to enter the annual Switch on Summer Sweepstakes, where contestants answer energy-related trivia questions to win the chance to switch on the fountain. This year’s contest drew over 6,000 submissions. As if giving the green light for summer, the clouds parted and sun beamed upon Maria Espinosa, Switch on Summer’s lucky winner and Gage Park resident, as she performed the honor of flipping on the switch to power Buckingham Fountain and kick off the summer for her fellow Chicagoans.

“I first heard about Switch on Summer on TV about three years ago, and since then had made my submission every year,” said Espinosa. “I couldn’t believe I had won. It was my life experience as a Chicagoan that led me to knowing the correct answers, and I’m just so grateful to ComEd for providing my family and I such a lovely and unforgettable experience.”

Beyond the celebration at the fountain, ComEd teams were in attendance to provide customers information on key programs to help them reduce energy consumption and increase wallet savings this summer. ComEd’s Energy Force Ambassadors also served as resources on solar energy for home and business and summer STEM education programs.