On Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, the Huntington Lighthouse Musicfest was held to mark the end of summer with boats, music and fun! Credit: Bryan Bennett

The boats bobbed gently in the breeze while the people aboard bobbed in time to the music played by the bands who turned the 1912 Huntington Lighthouse into an open air stage on Saturday.

It was the 11th Musicfest, a fundraiser for the Beaux Arts working lighthouse that hit a Long Island sweet spot by tapping triple passions for boating, music and local history.

“We’re just trying to support the lighthouse,” said Joe Carbone, 40, of East Northport, while keeping track of his three young sons, all younger than 9, who were sliding and diving off a bright yellow splash pad floating behind their motorboat. “It’s a good event and it’s fun.”

“I just love the music and the relaxation. It’s just a fun day for the family to be out on the water,” said Allison Schirripa of Huntington Station, from the stern of a powerboat.

Pamela Setchell, president of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society, explained the lighthouse’s enduring importance in an era of satellite navigation.

“All lighthouses should be kept . . . They are America’s castles,” she said. Huntington’s lighthouse once guided whalers and other commercial vessels that carried rock, sand and gravel, she noted.

Last year, there was no on-the-water concert because $1.1 million of renovations were underway. Work began in July 2016 on the 32-by-32-foot foundation, one of the largest projects undertaken for the lighthouse that sits at the junction of Huntington Harbor and Lloyd Harbor.

The overhaul that began in 1985 when the lighthouse was saved from being replaced with a steel tower is not complete — about 350 tons of granite riprap are needed, along with new windows on the lower level and masonry work on the upper level, she said.

By early Saturday afternoon, there were around 1,000 vessels from the region, officials said. Some mariners bridged the divide that can separate powerboaters from sailors by tying up alongside each other. Paddleboarders and kayakers wove in and out of the floating maze, and fundraisers, dressed as pirates, went from boat to boat, selling T-shirts. The sound system, suitable for the Nassau Coliseum, sits on a barge next to the lighthouse to avoid subjecting it to vibrations, said Donald Davidson of HDH Davidson, the production company.

Security guard Neal Winograd, 27, of Patchogue, was one of many workers fitting in a dance step or two while fulfilling his responsibilities. “You can’t be in a bad mood listening to this music,” he said, as the 60s Invasion group played. Songs from that era and the decade that followed are among his favorites. “It has feeling. You hear a story. It’s something that you can relate to.”

Storytelling, often with double entendres, is part of the soca music from Trinidad played by The King Wellington band, which its leader, Hawthorne Wellington Quashie, explained combines the blues and soul with Calypso, which in turn is based on classical music.

“We have funny songs, that’s what we’re known for, really relaxing music, very mellow,” he said before the group seemed to sum up the day, playing “I’m Jamming With You.”

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