Continuing the long partnership between the St Augustine Lighthouse and Museum and the Junior Service League of St Augustine, the Lighthouse has invited Historic City News readers to celebrate on Saturday, March 7th at the annual “Night Fest” sponsored by Herbie Wiles Insurance, Harbor Community Bank, and MINT Magazine.
The light station will open free to all guests beginning at 4:00 p.m. and the JSL’s Lighthouse 5K and Fun Run starts at 5:30 p.m. Visitors are invited to explore exhibits in the keepers’ house and climb the 219 steps to the top of the Lighthouse for a spectacular sunset view of St Augustine.
“We love working with the JSL on this great community event,” said Kathy A. Fleming, Executive Director of the St Augustine Lighthouse and Museum. “Night Fest is a celebration of the lighthouse’s history and legacy that the whole family can really enjoy.”
During the event, kids can enjoy face and hair painting, tattoos, crafts and a scavenger hunt. Hot dogs, sodas, beer and other refreshments will also be available for purchase.
The funds raised through Night Fest, and the Lighthouse 5K and Fun Run, help to preserve the light station and keep the archaeological and educational programs going at the maritime museum.
For additional information on Night Fest, visit www.staugustinelighthouse.org
The Lighthouse in St Augustine:
Members of the Junior Service League led a massive community effort to restore to the St Augustine Light Station in the 1980’s after arson and years of neglect left the grounds in disrepair. Restoration on the keepers’ house was completed in 1990 after $1.2 million was raised ($2.4 million in today’s dollars) and the tower was reopened the following year.
The JSL also worked to save the Lighthouse’s original first order Fresnel lens which was re-lit in during the first Lighthouse festival in 1993. Following the restoration projects, the St Augustine Lighthouse and Museum transitioned to a private nonprofit organization with a mission to discover, preserve, present and keep alive the stories of our Nation’s Oldest Port.
Today, the museum spends half a million dollars every five to six years to sustain the JSL’s original restoration work and continue preservation of the historic site. The museum remains dedicated to the community that brought it back to life, providing educational programs including winter, spring and summer camps for local students. Over 100 camp scholarships were offered to local at-risk youth to attend the science and history themed camps in 2014.
In addition to its educational offerings, the museum also maintains an archaeological research program committed to the study of local shipwrecks that shaped the culture and history of St Augustine. Since 2009, the group has been focused on a 1782 British loyalist vessel from Charleston, S.C., that ran aground while attempting to enter the St Augustine inlet. Artifacts from this wreck, ranging from long gun cannon to a uniform button from the famed British Army regiment known as Fraser’s Highlanders, are currently under conservation at the museum for a future exhibit scheduled to open in Spring 2016.