Signaling summer isn't that far away, Chicago turned on its iconic Buckingham Fountain with the flip of a switch Saturday afternoon.
A sweepstakes winner officially turned the fountain on during the "Switch on Summer" celebration alongside Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, ComEd CEO Joe Dominguez and others.
With the sun shining, people from all around the Chicago area took advantage of the beautiful weather and loosened COVID-19 restrictions.
"It just feels like we are really back," said Lynne Gordon, a Chicago resident. "It’s the symbol we’re back. It was just so empty, and we’d go, 'We want the fountain,' and now it’s back!"
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With the late spring shaping up much better than last year's, some people say it's a reason to celebrate.
"I’m very excited, just because we can definitely come to the city, there is a lot more to do out here," said Nora Muneton, a Schaumburg resident. "I feel like there is less stress, and we definitely want to do things with the girls."
In another sign that summer's approaching, Chicago has been gearing up to reopen its beaches just in time for Memorial Day weekend.
The more than two-dozen beaches along the Lake Michigan shoreline will reopen on May 28, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, Chicago Park District officials previously said.
Along with Grant Park, Millennium Park is now open daily.
However, Cloud Gate, which is also known as "The Bean," is not yet open to visitors, according to Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
More information will be released in early June, officials stated.