Friday, May 25, 2018

Inspiring a Light Within the Future of the Lighthouse Preservation Movement

Whitefish Point Light Station
Lighthouse enthusiasts are passionate about the structures they have adopted and often honor lighthouse keepers by uncovering historical records and sharing their stories.  These structures and people were often in remote areas of the world offering a beacon to ships as they passed through storms or near dangerous shorelines. In the mid-19th century, United States lighthouse keepers often served in the U. S. Life Saving Service, an organization that grew out of local humanitarian efforts to save the lives of the shipwrecked in the 19th century.  The lighthouse was a proactive approach to prevent shipwrecks but as records reveal this was not a foolproof plan.

In Michigan, identified by the 2018 International Lighthouse Conference as the "heart of lighthouse country", there are 129 lighthouses, and many historical societies working to honor and protect this component of history, threatened quite often by neglect and erosion.  An objective of many lighthouse historical groups is to educate and develop, if you will, a spark of interest in the next generation so that efforts may continue and sustain the lighthouse preservation movement. 
Crisp Point Lighthouse
The three lighthouses in the 2018 Michigan Lighthouse Festival's beam is the Crisp Point Lighthouse, Point Iroquois Lighthouse, and Whitefish Point Light Station.  Each lighthouse has its own unique history and group of individuals that get involved in the preservation of the structure and its related stories.  This, the third Michigan Lighthouse Festival, incorporates a kick-off banquet dinner and concert,  the Gordon Lightfoot Tribute, at the renowned Bay Mills Resort & Casinos in Brimley, Michigan.  Special programs will be held at each lighthouse throughout Saturday and Sunday. More specific details about the festival are available at At the Whitefish TownshipCommunity Center, located south of Paradise on State Route M-123 there will be a Lighthouse Market Place.  Whereby various lighthouses will be sharing information about their specific programs and vendor booths with arts and crafts of lighthouse related memorabilia.

Point Iroquois Lighthouse
The dates of August 3 - 5 were selected by the three lighthouse managers because families with children would not be as restricted by school schedules.  Children and their families are encouraged to learn more about these unique guardians of the shore by attending the Michigan Lighthouse Festival. To enhance the experience for kids and kindle that light within, the festival produced a Kid's Activity Pamphlet.  It will be available at each of the three lighthouses, free. You can download an easy print out at this link too:  Easy Print Out.  It includes lighthouses to color, a cross-word puzzle, a navigate the waters exercise, and hidden words.  Kids are encouraged to get a lighthouse passport stamp from each of the three lighthouses and to ask volunteers at the light station questions while attending the festival tour. 

Free Kid's Activity Pamphlet
As an added bonus, children are encouraged to enter a FREE drawing at the completion of their tour of Crisp Point, Point Iroquois, and Whitefish Point by submitting the top right corner of page 1, at the last lighthouse they visit. Children unable to attend the Festival, may print out an easy print copy, take a picture of their completed project and send it to to be entered in the drawing.  All entries will be combined and a finalist drawn at the festival review meeting held no later than August 12.  The winner will be announced on the Festival's Facebook page and prize sent to the individual drawn.

If you have a chance to attend the 3rd Michigan Lighthouse Festival be sure to include your children, grand children, nieces, nephews, or neighborhood children. Experience the mystery and work of the Lighthouse structures and the lighthouse keepers.  Encourage the youngsters to imagine walking in the footsteps of these fine people, days long gone, and days so different than our own.  Be inspired by the stories and mysteries still unfolding.  Perhaps you too, will be encouraged to add their stories to your own for the benefit of the next generation.

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