Riding on an inner tube Saturday in the Huntington Harbor, Madison Roehrig said she had the best day ever. “This is a lot of fun,” said the Northport 9-year-old.
Being pulled by a jet ski driven by her parents, she was among the thousands enjoying the sixth Huntington Lighthouse Music Fest hosted by the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society.
Christine Roehrig agreed with her daughter. “Jet skiing on the water is great,” she said. “You can’t ask for a better day with great music, the weather is perfect and being in the water is fantastic.”
Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society board member Bill Perks created the daylong festival to raise public awareness of the lighthouse and to raise money for its restoration.
“The lighthouse was scheduled for demolition in 1986. There was a collapsed roof, two to three feet of bird droppings inside which is hazardous waste. It needed a new roof, new windows, concrete repairs and new floors,” said Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society president Pamela Setchell, of Huntington. “There was a lot of work that needed to be done.”
Saturday’s event raised about $50,000 by collecting donations from festivalgoers, selling T-shirts and from companies that bought ads in the Huntington Lighthouse Journal distributed at the event.
The Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society was awarded a $250,000 state grant to help pay for the lighthouse repairs.
“In order to receive the grant, we must match the $250,000,” said Setchell. “This lighthouse is a part of maritime heritage. This lighthouse has so much history. We just can’t let it go.”
Huntington Town Councilwoman Susan Berland was thrilled to stand inside the historic lighthouse.
“This lighthouse is a great treasure to have,” said Berland. “This lighthouse can never be replicated, it must be preserved.”
Pat McCourt and his wife, Marie, of Huntington, relaxed on their boat and enjoyed the music.
“We have been living in Huntington since 1988 and we love it,” said Marie McCourt. “We are having a great time at this music fest.”
The music festival lineup included reggae band King Wellington, rock band Joe Rock and the All Stars, folk rock group Prospect Street and blues band Pamela Betti Band.
“The music fest put this lighthouse on the map,” Setchell said. “When the first note is played, it’s heaven.”
Photo: Fans float in the harbor Saturday during the Huntington Lighthouse Music Fest.