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


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 3 & 4, 2019. 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  

MARYLAND LIGHTHOUSE CHALLENGE

September 21 & 22, 2019. 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. More information at: https://cheslights.org/maryland-lighthouse-challenge/

LIGHTHOUSE CHALLENGE OF NEW JERSEY

October 19 & 20, 2019.  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. More information at: https://www.visitnj.org/nj-events/lighthouse-challenge-2019

Upcoming Lighthouse festivals & EVENTS

Listed below are lighthouse festivals, events, and meetings. 

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

Door County Festival 2019

Door County Spring Lighthouse Festival, WI

 June 7 - 9, 2019. Three days of boat excursions and guided land-based tours to Door   County, Wisconsin's 11 historic lighthouses. Complete schedule available here.

APOSTLE ISLANDS LIGHTHOUSE CELEBRATION, WI

August 27 - September 14, 2019.  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: http://www.lighthousecelebration.com/ 

MAINE OPEN LIGHTHOUSE DAY

September 14, 2019. 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. More information available at: http://www.lighthousefoundation.org/maine-open-lighthouse-day/ 

MUKILTEO LIGHtHOUSE FESTIVAL,WA

September 6 - 8, 2019. 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. They host a Military and First Responders appreciation dinner on Friday night (all military and first responders welcome, please email exec.director@mukfest.com for an invitation). https://mukfest.com/

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

November 10, 2019. 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. More info at http://www.mnhs.org/splitrock/activities/beacon-lighting

MICHIGAN LIGHTHOUSE FESTIVAL

August 2, 3 & 4, 2019. The Michigan Lighthouse Festival begins August 2, 2019 in Port Huron at Fort Gratiot Lighthouse with an "awesome" Buffet Barbecue under a tent and a very "special speaker"! The following lighthouses will be participating, some with a "special event" to be announced at a later date. Huron Lightship, Port Sanilac, Harbor Beach, Point Aux Barques and Port Austin. http://www.michiganlighthousefestival.com/  

Michigan Lighthouse Guide 

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. http://www.michiganlighthouseguide.com/festivals.html

Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival

July 6 & 7, 2019. Enjoy continuous entertainment, a nautical arts & crafts village – featuring over 50 of the area’s finest nautical artists and crafters. As well as children’s activities, a lighthouse story tent, delicious food, silent auction, and more all the beautiful Maumee Bay State Park. http://www.toledolighthousefestival.com/

Port Clinton Lighthouse Festival and Amateur Radio Activation

August 17th & 7, 2019. The Port Clinton Lighthouse Festival is an annual event which coincides with International Lighthouse and Lightship weekend every year near August 7th. The one-day festival features lighthouse tours, nautically themed art and educational programs, arts & crafts vendors, food, music and stunning views of the Lake Erie Islands. The lighthouse will be activated with an amateur radio station during the festival.  If you want to tune in or contact them via amateur radio frequencies, you will need to find a ham radio operator that can operate on the 40 or 20 meter amateur radio frequency bands. For details on the Port Clinton Lighthouse Festival go to http://portclintonlighthouse.org/2019-festival/ and for more info about the amateur radio activation go https://www.qrz.com/db/W8GNM/8.