Continuing the long partnership between the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum and the Junior Service League of St. Augustine, the Lighthouse will host its annual Night Fest celebration sponsored by Herbie Wiles Insurance and Harbor Community Bank on Saturday, March 5th, in conjunction with the JSL’s Lighthouse 5K and Fun Run.
The light station will open free to all Historic City News readers from 4:00 p.m. to 8:30 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. 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.
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 & Maritime Museum transitioned to a private nonprofit organization. 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.
Additionally, the Museum will be launching a new exhibit, Wrecked!, in May 2016. This new exhibition will tell the story of a 1782 British Loyalist ship that sank just off St. Augustine’s coast as well as the story of how Lighthouse archaeologists used science and technology to find and excavate this historic shipwreck.
For additional information on Night Fest, visit www.staugustinelighthouse.org.