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Huntington Lighthouse Musicfest canceled for 2017, officials say

The erosion to the foundation of the Huntington

The erosion to the foundation of the Huntington Lighthouse in July 2017. Credit: Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society

The Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society has canceled its 2017 Musicfest, citing repairs that must be completed on the 105-year-old lighthouse.

The annual event, which would have been held Sept. 2, attracts more than 1,000 boats carrying 12,000 people, according to the Town of Huntington website. Musicians perform at the lighthouse for an audience of boaters in the surrounding water.

In a statement issued Thursday, society officials said that the lighthouse restoration project has made great progress, and they expect Musicfest to return “bigger and better” in 2018.

The lighthouse project ran into issues when it was discovered that the original landing platform had partially collapsed, and one side of the lighthouse’s footing does not have the foundational support shown in the structure’s plans, said Pam Setchell, president of the society.

Now, instead of just repairing the landing platform leading to the lighthouse’s entrance, Setchell said they would have to rip it out, along with existing stone, make repairs and build a new platform.

“You would never know it . . . until you moved tons of rock and excavated below the foundation,” she said. “When we went into this, we knew we could make discoveries along the way.”

The change in the restoration’s scope also changed the cost of the project, which increased to $900,000 from the original $871,000 price tag.

Setchell said they have received donations for all but $80,000 of that expense, and that the remaining funds must be raised by mid-August.

“We needed to raise a lot of extra money, and unfortunately, we had no choice but to cancel this year’s Musicfest,” Setchell said.

Officials also said that the Boat Holiday Parade of Lights, scheduled for Nov. 24, will be held as planned after an absence related to work on the lighthouse’s foundation in 2016.

The restoration has been underway for six years. Its completion date has been delayed to mid-fall from the original projections for this summer.

“It took years to build these lighthouses, and it takes years to repair them properly,” Setchell said.

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