Lighthouse Festivals & Events

National Lighthouse Day

August 7 each year is officially designated as National Lighthouse Day. The celebration provides recognition for the important role which lighthouses played in the history of our country, and the values of safety, heroism, and American ingenuity which they represent. It is a day for communities and citizens groups around the country to rededicate themselves to the protection and restoration of these historic structures.

Learn more about National Lighthouse Day

2017 Events

Absecon Lighthouse Celebrates National Lighthouse Day with Free Climbs for Kids, a Full Moonrise Climb, & Wine Tasting with Live Jazz - Absecon Lighthouse, New Jersey’s tallest, and the country’s third tallest Lighthouse, will be celebrating National Lighthouse Day on Monday, August 7th.  Kids up to 12 years old are invited to climb the lighthouse for FREE (must be accompanied by an adult) from 10am to 5pm.  But let’s not forget the grown-ups!  Enjoy a Full Moonrise Climb & Winetasting, while enjoying jazz tunes by Atlantic City’s very own Eddie Morgan Band, from 5:30 to 8:30.  Tickets are $20 to help preserve this important Atlantic City icon. Dogs on leashes are always welcome in the garden and the museum.

Join Old Baldy, NC, in celebrating National Lighthouse Weekend August 4th-6th! This year the celebration is in honor of both National Lighthouse Weekend and Old Baldy's 200th Birthday! See the list below for information about the weekend festivities!  

  • Friday, August 4th - Old Baldy Buzz at 4 pm outside of the Bald Head Limited Sales Office. All summer we have been collecting donations in the name of the following island residents and workers: Bill Mack, Claude Pope, Willie Pope, Chris Shank, Woody Walls, Kirby Ward and Josh Watkins. Whoever has the largest sum of donations made in their name will have their hair BUZZED! Stop by for light refreshments and to see which lucky Islander will have their hair buzzed. This event is free and open to the public. 
  • Saturday, August 5th - Old Baldy Duck Race at 2 pm behind the harbor tent pavilion! Come watch the Duck Race if you have purchased a duck throughout the summer! You can still purchase a duck to be entered in the race by calling the gift shop at 910-457-7481. Each duck is $10 or you can purchase 11 ducks for $100. The individual who purchased the winning duck will win the grand prize of $500! You do not need to be present to win.  1817 Dinner- Enjoy a colonially inspired evening! Start the night at 5:30 at Old Baldy for Cocktails and Hors D'eouvres. We will travel to the Bald Head Island Club for dinner, drinks, and dancing! The evening will feature craft cocktails from historical North Carolina Liquors, Old Baldy Beer, colonial hosts and live Blue Grass music! 
  • Sunday, August 6th - National Lighthouse Day Festival at 4 pm on the Lighthouse Grounds. Come join Old Baldy for a family friendly festival on the grounds of Old Baldy. We will be featuring Colonial Actors around the grounds who will share exciting tales of our region's past, games, craft stations, lighthouse climbs, a beer garden and more! This event is open to the public. Run for the Light 5k, 10k and 1 mile run at 6:30 pm- Enjoy a scenic race on Bald Head Island at sunset! Finish the race by running towards the light of the lighthouse! Each runner will receive a glow in the dark tee shirt and headlamp! 

National Lighthouse Day Weekend at Cape Henry Lighthouse, VA - August 4 -7. This year marks the 225th anniversary of the lighting of Cape Henry Lighthouse and they will be commemorating the milestone with dune talks that feature STEM topics, such as navigation, geology, mathematics and the weather, tours of the lighthouse and a scavenger hunt all weekend long.

Fort Casey Historical Park (Admiralty Head), WA, August 5, 2017

The National Lighthouse Museum's 7th Annual National Lighthouse & Lightship Recognition Weekend, NY,  August 4-6, 2017

  • Friday, August 4, 2017 ~ Light Keeper's Gala. A champagne Museum Reception will precede the vessel leaving from Pier 1 adjacent to the Museum.  Harbor cruise, open bar, hors-d'oeuvres, dinner, dancing in the moonlight. For info /reservations call 718 390 0040
  • Saturday, August 5, 2017 ~ Presentations, panel discussions. free tours and public events at Museum site. 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm Wayne Wheeler, President of the United States Lighthouse Society will speak on "Saving America's Light Stations" (A 30-Year Retrospective).  Free Admission. 
  • Sunday, August 6, 2017 ~ Signature Lighthouse Boat Tour leaves 11: AM from Pier 11, Wall and South St., Manhattan. To register and more info: August 6th Signature Lighthouse Boat Tour
  • Information/Reservations: info@lighthousemusuem.org; 718 390 0040

National Lighthouse Day at North Point Lighthouse, Milwaukee, WI, Sunday August 6, 2017 -  The North Point Lighthouse Museum is celebrating National Lighthouse Day from 12 - 4 pm. Admission $5 | Members, Veterans and Active Military, Free. Presentation of the colors by the United States Coast Guard Honor Detail at noon on lighthouse east lawn.

Celebrate National Lighthouse Day with a “Members Only” Tour of Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, MD - To Celebrate National Lighthouse Day on Sunday, August 6th, the United States Lighthouse Society (USLHS) and its Chesapeake Chapter would like to give you the opportunity to sign up for a specially priced “Members Only” tour of Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse for you, your family, and guests. What better way to celebrate this special day than to visit a National Historic Landmark lighthouse for one of the most exclusive tours available? Come see the results of the work done by our volunteers. There will be two tours available – one at 9 a.m. and one at Noon. Tickets will be specially priced costing $40 per person (normally $75.00 per person). Seating is limited to 18 people per trip so sign up early. To order tickets for this “Members Only” event on August 6th you need to call the USLHS office at 415-362-7255. The USLHS office is in Washington State, so allow for the 3 hour time difference.

A Candid Conversation with Augustin Fresnel - August 20, Sunday, 2 PM. At the Custom House. Joseph Smith, the recipient of a 2016 Staten Island Arts Fund Grant, will present an original living-history portrayal of Augustin Fresnel, 1788-1827, the French inventor of the Fresnel lens. His Fresnel performance was the highlight of our 2017 Lighthouse Conference. Based on his revolutionary theory of light behaving like a wave rather than as particles, Augustin developed the multiple glass prism shapes that made up a lens able to capture 85% of the light emitted by the light source, & project a light beam in a lighthouse over 25 MILES. This is a free presentation, in honor of National Lighthouse Day (August 7). Seating is limited and on a first-come basis. The performance is sponsored by a Veolia / New London Water Authority grant.  

National Lighthouse Weekend at the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum & Historic Park, MD  - August 5 -6. Sponsored by Dyson Building Center - Tour the museum, climb the lighthouse and visit the Keeper's Quarters! Visit with our artist, Mary Gault of Wood Goodies! Meet Lighthouse Keeper, William Yeatman Jr and his wife Susan, portrayed by Mr. John and Tobi Graham! Free Admission!


Lighthouse challenges

Lighthouses, museums, and life saving stations host a variety of Lighthouse Challenges where the public is invited (and challenged) to visit all participating lighthouses over the weekend and help raise funds for continued lighthouse preservation.  

Lake Ontario Central New York Lighthouse Challenge

August 4, 5 & 6, 2017. The challenge is to visit eight unique New York lighthouses within three days. The official Challenge route runs east from Rock Island Light to the West to a new site, 30 Mile Point outside of Rochester, N.Y.  Participants will collect a lighthouse stamp or token at each lighthouse they visit. Special arrangements have been made to include bonus sites not usually open to the public. The lighthouses are located along the southern end of Lake Ontario and following along the Seaway Trail, a National Scenic Byway.  For more information about the Lake Ontario CNY Lighthouse Challenge, visit the H. Lee White Maritime Museum website at:  http://www.hlwmm.org/events.php?id=18  

MAINE OPEN LIGHTHOUSE DAY

September 9, 2017. This popular event, which is sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation, attracts between 15,000 to 18,000 visitors each year and offers the general public the rare opportunity to climb and learn about over two dozen historic Maine lights.  

MARYLAND LIGHTHOUSE CHALLENGE

September 16-17, 2017.  Complimentary souvenirs will be given at each Challenge location. You are welcome to visit any number of lighthouses along the Challenge route, but you will have to visit all mandatory stops to be able to proclaim “I’ve seen the lights!” and collect a specially designed souvenir to mark your accomplishment.  

LIGHTHOUSE CHALLENGE OF NEW JERSEY

October 21-22, 2017.  The New Jersey Lighthouses and select museums host The Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey weekend.  Visitors can enjoy an opportunity to tour the state and visit each lighthouse over the weekend, and help raise needed funds for the continued preservation of these treasured landmarks.  Visit up to 11 land based lighthouses, one museum and two life saving stations - rain or shine.  Participants pay a $2 registration fee at their first stop and receive a special passport book.  The challenge is to visit each site and get the book stamped.  Everyone who completes the challenge will be entered into a drawing for $1,000 in prizes.

Upcoming Lighthouse festivals & EVENTS

Listed below are lighthouse festivals, events, and meetings (in chronological order). 

If you have a lighthouse event that you would like included in this listing, please email the details, link, and an image perhaps, to <candace@uslhs.org>.

OLD BALDY FOUNDATION CELEBRATES 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF BALD HEAD LIGHTHOUSE, NC

2017 - Various dates. The Old Baldy Foundation (OBF) has planned an extensive 2017 calendar of events on Bald Head Island marking the 200th Birthday of the Old Baldy Lighthouse. Events are designed to celebrate the 200 years of rich Maritime History of North Carolina and the Cape Fear Region.  Not only will the events focus on North Carolina's state history but they will also celebrate food, spirits, agriculture, literature, art, music and crafts. 

SEE THE LIGHT: the Preservation of Midcoast Maine Lighthouses, ME

May 27 - Oct. 22, 2017. The new millennium has seen the U.S. Coast Guard handing over stewardship of the nation’s lighthouses to the public and private sectors. With the participation of at least a dozen Midcoast Maine lighthouse organizations, See the Light, on view in the Marjorie W. Kramer Gallery, will survey the challenges and success stories of preserving these iconic maritime structures. Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, Maine.

APOSTLE ISLANDS LIGHTHOUSE CELEBRATION, WI

August 29 - September 16, 2017.  Highlights are cruises to many of the lighthouses of the Apostle Island.  Features landing, tours and hikes on several of the island.  Complete cruise schedule is available at the website. 

MUKILTEO LIGHtHOUSE FESTIVAL,WA

September 8, 9 & 10, 2017. This annual three-day festival takes place at Lighthouse Park in Mukilteo, WA. In addition to tours and visits through our working lighthouse built in 1906, the festival features live music, the Mukilteo Marketplace filled with 50+ artists, the Avenue of Food, a large Children’s Area with non-stop activities, a beer garden and two dinners on the lawn at the lighthouse, complete with a spectacular fireworks show both nights. Friday night we host a Military and First Responders appreciation dinner (all military and first responders welcome, please email exec.director@mukfest.com for an invitation) and Saturday night we host a VIP dinner for our sponsors. 

Fall Lighthouse Festival, Door County Maritime Museum, WI

October 7- 8, 2017. The Door County Maritime Museum, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, offers its most popular lighthouse tours during Columbus Day weekend. For reservations, call (920)743-5958.

Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Beacon Lighting, Split Rock Light Station, MN

November 10, 2017. This annual event, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, commemorates the sinking of the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald and the loss of her 29 crew members on November 10, 1975. It is also a time to reflect on the memory of all lives lost in Great Lakes shipwrecks. The lighthouse, fog signal building and visitor center will be open. Costumed guides will greet visitors and provide historic site and shipwreck information. Throughout the afternoon, visitors can view a film about the Edmund Fitzgerald in the visitor center.

At 4:30 pm, the lighthouse will close temporarily while the names of the crew members are read to the tolling of a ship's bell and the Naval Hymn is played. Following the ceremony, the beacon will be lit, and the tower will be open again to tour. This is the only opportunity each year when visitors can climb the tower after dark and see the lit beacon.

MICHIGAN LIGHTHOUSE FESTIVALS

In addition to the Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival Michigan has an array of festivals that celebrate its deep maritime heritage.  Michigan’s port cities roll out the red carpet and provide you with a fun filled collection of memorable experiences with a nautical flare.