Adriana Gonzalez pointed at a figure emerging from the top of the Montauk Point Lighthouse and screamed, “Santa!”
For Adriana, 5, an appearance by Saint Nick was the perfect icing on the cake after minutes earlier watching 10,000 bulbs light up, decorating the historic lighthouse for the holiday season.
On Saturday night, Adriana and her grandparents, Edwina and Robert Morgan, were among the crowd of locals and visitors who danced to live holiday music, met with Santa Claus and bundled up to count down the lighthouse lighting, now in its sixth year.
“We’ve been coming for three or four years. It’s tradition,” said Edwina Morgan, 55, of Riverhead. “We love it. She loves it. Adriana looks forward to it each year. You know, the holiday season isn’t just about presents and shopping, but spending time with your family and this is what we do to start off the season. It’s just so much fun being out here.”
Joe Gaviola, a board member of the Lighthouse Museum Committee, said the event usually draws between 2,000 and 3,000 locals and visitors, and is sponsored by the Montauk Historical Society and the Lighthouse Museum Committee.
“Imagine 10,000 bulbs lighting up the Island’s largest structure on one of the windiest spots. That’s what’s happening tonight,” said Gaviola, of Montauk. “When you think of the symbol of Long Island, the lighthouse is it, so we do this for the community year after year.”
The Montauk Point Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in New York State and the fourth oldest in the country It was designated a National Historic Landmark in March 2012.
In a 10-second countdown, the lights were turned on by George Biondo, a Montauk attorney who has long been active in community affairs. The lights will stay on until Jan. 1.
“This lighthouse provides the whole world with a destination point, historical touchstone place of immense beauty,” said Biondo, 66, of Montauk. “I’m honored to be able to flip the switch and be a part of making this a place to visit and enjoy during the holidays.”