Lighthouse Festival ranges from Wooden Boat Show to live music, tours, talks

Jul 26, 2023 | Entertainment | 0 comments

The iconic Port Clinton Lighthouse is a popular photographic background for local couples and their wedding parties. (Photo by D’Arcy Patrick Egan)

The Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy’s fifth annual Lighthouse and Maritime Festival is on Saturday, Aug. 19, at Waterworks Park. It will again feature a Plein Air Art Show by the Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council and an Antique & Classic Wooden Boat Show, so popular with boat lovers last year.

This year’s festival is free, and also feature lives music, events for the kids, nautical merchandise vendors, food for a variety of tastes, historical talks, and free tours of the lighthouse from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The opening ceremony will feature the presentation of colors by the US. Coast Guard Auxiliary, singing of the national anthem by Rosemary Schram, and Mayor Mike Snider introducing U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur, who will deliver the keynote address.

Musical entertainment will be provided by the Ottawa County Bluegrass Band and the musical stylings of Rosemary Schram. Featured performer will be award-winning writer and columnist Russ Franzen, who will present “Great Lakes History in Song,” featuring tunes about the Great Lakes. He plans to perform his own composition about the Port Clinton Lighthouse, written for the festival.

Local food vendors will be there to satisfy hungry appetites.

In the Arts & Craft Tent kids will engage in painting and crafts, and a scavenger hunt. For the adults there is the Speaker’s Tent, where John Gibson will speak on the topic of prohibition.

Conservancy President Rich Norgard will give a history of the Port Clinton Light Station, as well as a talk on the famous prison ship Success, which traveled the world for 106 years before ending her days in a spectacular fire on July 4, 1946. Throughout the day, trained docents will guide visitors through the historic lighthouse at no charge.

Local artists will again be competing to produce the best portrait of the lighthouse, with the winner receiving $100. The winner’s painting will be featured on next year’s festival poster.

The Conservancy will also raffle off a variety of items, including a beautiful model of the Port Clinton Lighthouse, and two signed and numbered Ben Richmond lighthouse prints framed in museum quality glass. There will also be a 50/50 raffle. The owner of the boat selected “Best in Show” at the antique boat show will be rewarded with a model of the Port Clinton Lighthouse.

The Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy has restored, owns and operates the 127-year-old pier light, which saw service on the west pier at the mouth of the Portage River from 1896 until 1952. It also created the festival as a fundraiser for the lighthouse and to showcase both the historic structure and the maritime history of Port Clinton.

The festival is held each year on the third Saturday in August to coincide with International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend, honoring lighthouses around the world and the radio operators who made communication light stations possible. In this tradition, HAM radio operator and Conservancy board member Geoff Mendenhall will be broadcasting on short wave radio from a tent near the lighthouse.

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