By Chris Mellides
More than 1,600 boats set sail for Huntington Harbor Sept. 5 for the 9th annual Huntington Lighthouse Music Festival, presented by the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society.
The festival showcased the talent of a number of musicians who played on the rooftop of the lighthouse, while roughly 8,000 people relaxed to the sounds of the live music while basking in the warm water of the harbor.
As one of the largest boating events in the area, huge crowds of participants attend the yearly event by yacht, boat, kayak, canoe and inner tube, coming from New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey to be a part of the nine-hour festivity.
The music festival is one of several fundraisers spearheaded by the Lighthouse Preservation Society to raise money for buttressing and other maintenance work for the fully functional 103-year-old lighthouse.
Pamela Setchell, president of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society, said the group is “in a very serious phase of restoration and preservation” and needs another $650,000-$750,000 for foundation and stabilization work.
Last year, the festival raised $76,000 from program advertisements and donations gathered onsite during the event by Teens on the Water, a group comprised of 40 young people who travel from boat-to-boat to collect the donations.
While many people come to Huntington Harbor for the event each year to enjoy the warm weather, tasty food and live music, Setchell says raising awareness about continued needs for the lighthouse is doubly important.
“The Lighthouse Music Fest brings a lot of awareness to the cause. It’s a lot of fun, it promotes boating safety, and we’re hoping to close the gap so we can write the check to get the work started.”