The Montauk Point Lighthouse had a few thousand extra visitors this weekend for the third annual Lighting of the Lighthouse and Christmas celebration.
The white Christmas lights that outline the lighthouse tower and keeper’s house were turned on for the first time of the season Saturday night to a crowd of more than 3,000, said Brian Pope, assistant manager of the lighthouse museum.
All day on Sunday, the Montauk Historical Society Lighthouse Committee hosted a Christmas celebration at the lighthouse, where Santa Claus was on site to take photos with children, there was free hot chocolate and apple cider, holiday music and pony rides on the lawn under the lighthouse.
“The lighting of the lighthouse is really like a gift to the people of the East End,” Pope said. “It’s a symbol of the beginning of the holiday season.”
Pope said about 500 people had been in and out of the lighthouse on Sunday, and while most were local, some had traveled from points west to spend the day at Montauk Point.
Brian and Maricar Block, of Kings Point, first attended the lighthouse lighting last year, when their daughter Antonia was just six months old. This year, with Maricar Block pregnant with the couple’s second child, they decided it would be a new family tradition.
“We made the trek,” she said. “We had such a good time last year, we decided we would come every year.”
Dave Ceva, of Montauk, was also at the event for the second year in a row with his children, Cooper, Chloe and Cassandra. The kids were excited to talk to Santa, they said, and thought he should come to Montauk more often.
“He should come to the lighthouse all the time,” Cooper said. “He can climb up and down the tower.”
Pope said the lighthouse will be lit up every night until January 2.