BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
Retired Ottawa County Judge Paul Moon settled in front of the fireplace of the warm and cozy Keeper’s House on the Marblehead Peninsula on Saturday during the 27th annual Lakeside-Marblehead Lighthouse Festival.
Moon can spin spell-binding tales about the history of Ottawa County and, more poignantly, the history of the Marblehead Peninsula.
Over hot coals in the Keeper’s House fireplace, Ron Hart of Marblehead was tending a pair of Dutch ovens, baking delicious apple pies created moments before by Becky Shemenski of Oak Harbor and Suzy Wittenmyer of Catawba Island.
The scent of the pies was delightful, a treat for visitors at the keepers House. The stories that are part and parcel of Moon’s family history were insightful, and entertaining.
Moon is a descendant of Benajah Wolcott, the first keeper of the Marblehead Light, as well as William Kelly, who built both the light and the Keeper’s House. Benajah Wolcott was Moon’s fourth great-grandfather. William Kelly, the man who built the lighthouse and built the Keeper’s House, is his third great-grandfather, Moon said.
“The lighthouse keeper’s daughter married the lighthouse builder’s son, and that’s my dad’s family,” said Moon, long a keeper of his family’s place in history. Moon was also long-time President of the Ottawa County Historical Society.
Gale force winds and turbulent waves kept the crowds at the festival from climbing the iconic lighthouse steps on Saturday, just a couple of miles away from the Keeper’s House. A rowdy Lake Erie joined the lighthouse as a favorite tourism photo opportunity rated tops in the Buckeye State. There was still a lot to see and do on Saturday, however, especially at nearby Lakeside Chautauqua, a resort community that shares the special festival.
Lakeside was open for business, its shops were busy and restaurants were welcome comfort stations on the windy day. Youngsters could be found creating bracelets and Jam Dancing at the Hoover Auditorium, with families listening to the music of Lance Horwwedel and enjoying the RW Magic Show.
The legendary apple dumplings were again offered at the Lakeside United Methodist Church, as well as a welcome bowl of hot soup. Pam Holzaepfel kept the dumplings coming all morning, many served with a dollop of ice cream. She reported that this year’s dumpling demand reached 2,350 of the tasty confectionary, the same as usual.
Arts & Crafts vendors filled most every available indoor space, with a stream of visitors browsing the Wesley Lodge, South Auditorium and Wo-Ho-Mis Lodge.