A dedicated group of volunteers is working hard to restore a piece of Toledo’s history, and they hope that the public will join in the cause at the 11th Annual Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival on July 12-13 at Maumee Bay State Park.
The Toledo Lighthouse Society is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to restore the Toledo Lighthouse, located five miles offshore of Maumee Bay State Park, to its former glory. The lighthouse was constructed by the federal government in 1904, sporting a unique Romanesque style and a 3½ order Fresnel lens. It is known for its “phantom keeper,” a uniformed mannequin placed in the window by the US Coast Guard to deter vandalism.
According to Sandy Bihn, president of the Toledo Lighthouse Society, the group assumed ownership of the lighthouse in 2006 and commissioned detailed restoration plans in 2009—now they want to take the next step. “We are ready to turn our lighthouse dreams into reality,” Bihn said. The project would total an estimated $1.5 million and include structural and cosmetic improvements to enhance the lighthouse’s historic character.
The Society first organized the Lighthouse Festival in 2004 to celebrate the structure’s 100th birthday. Over its eleven years, the festival has grown in size and helped inform the public about the lighthouse. Proceeds from the festival benefit the Society and its restoration projects.
Highlights of this year’s festival include an Arts and Crafts Village with over 50 nautical artists, a sandcastle competition featuring professional sand sculptors, tours of the lighthouse, and a variety of entertainment and food offerings. “The festival is an exciting way to involve the greater Toledo community in this worthwhile endeavor,” Bihn said.
The event kicks off at Maumee Bay State Park on Saturday, July 12, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and continues on Sunday, July 13, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. An entry donation is requested. More information is available at www.toledolighthousefestival.org.