Delaware Lighthouse Festival offers perspective on landmarks

Lighthouses are one of the many unique aspects of life along the coast, and the area’s visitors and residents alike will be able to immerse themselves in the history and legend of local lighthouses at a new festival, set for this Saturday.

The Delaware Lighthouse Festival, a new event organized by the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation, will take place on the grounds of the Lewes Ferry Terminal on Saturday, Aug. 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“A couple of us had this idea and gathered those who were interested in it and ran with it. It’s grown into a pretty good-size affair,” explained Judith Roales, president of the foundation. “The thought when we started this is that this could become some kind of a signature event that could happen every year or every other year.”

More than 60 vendors and exhibits will be set up at the festival, with special booths showcasing Sussex County’s five lighthouses, at Fenwick Island, Cape Henlopen, Delaware Breakwater East End, Harbor of Refuge and Mispillion, as well as the Delaware’s Lighthouse Trail of sites to visit statewide.

“The core of the festival is educational booths on Delaware lighthouses sponsored by organizations like the Friends of the Fenwick Island Lighthouse — people like that who have some connection to a particular lighthouse. We’re really pleased to have representation from all of the Sussex County lighthouses.”

The information available will extend beyond the local lighthouses.

“The National Park Service doing a booth on the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Program. The Coast Guard is doing a booth on modern-age navigation. I think it’s representative of lighthouses in Delaware — it’s a good start,” she said.

There will also be an exhibit on a lighthouse in Maryland, as well as a booth focusing on the Delaware Lighthouse Trail, created by the foundation, which highlights 23 lighthouse sites in the state of Delaware.

“In the future, I would hope we could expand it to get more representation of other lighthouses,” said Roales. “We’ll have live entertainment all day and games for the kids. It’s just a big, fun event.”

During the festival, more than 40 items that have been donated by local merchants and restaurants will be raffled off.

“We have prizes in the raffle that range from $10 or $15 to $400 in value, and we’re just going to sell tickets and have drawings throughout the day for those things.”

Food will also be available, for purchase, from area restaurants including Nage, Bethany Blues, Old Bay, 16 Mile and On the Rocks — the ferry terminal’s own outdoor eatery.

There will also be kids’ activities, including a bouncy house, spin art, and beanbag and ring toss.

“We have one lighthouse-themed game — a big board with silhouette pictures of the Delaware lighthouses on it, then blocks with a full picture of the lighthouse on it — and kids have to match the lighthouse picture to the shadow. Just simple things,” she said.

Roales said she hopes the community will attend the festival, rain or shine, to learn about the history of these unique and treasured Delaware landmarks.

“We certainly hope everyone will come out to see it and have a good time,” said Roales. “We expect it to be an inexpensive and family-oriented outing.”