By Janee Law
For the first year in over a decade, the annual Huntington Lighthouse Music Festival has been cancelled.
The festival, hosted each year since 2006, typically draws around 1,500 boats to Huntington Harbor each Labor Day weekend. This year, what would have been the 11th annual festival has been cancelled due to safety concerns brought about by the ongoing lighthouse restoration project.
“We held off as long as we possibly could to make the decision, a heartbreaking, gut wrenching decision for us because everyone looks forward to it,” said Pam Setchell, president of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society. “It’s grown to mass proportions, it’s an incredible event, but we have to finish the foundation project. That’s the most important thing.”
Setchell said that the scope of construction work changed once Port Washington-based engineering company Frank Scobbo Contractors made some unexpected discoveries while excavating the southern side of the lighthouse. In May, a portion of the landing platform collapsed, causing further delays.
The scope of the work has changed, Setchell added, and there’s currently no way to safely access the lighthouse.
Crews are currently working to remove what’s left of the collapsed side, including the rocks, before steel sheeting can be installed around the lighthouse, and a new landing deck can be installed.
“It’s nothing that can be done super quickly,” Setchell said.
Setchell added that the 2017 Holiday Boat Parade of Lights is on for Nov. 24. She also said there are plans for the music festival to return next year.