For the past five years, the Midcoast Maine Lighthouse Challenge has proven to be a popular event with participants near and far, but in 2011 the event’s appeal took flight to even higher levels.
The lighthouse challenge, which was sponsored by the Friends of Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse (FRBL), witnessed a whopping 60% increase in participants over last year. The significant upward trend was thanks in part to the new and exciting features that FRBL continues to add to the annual weekend-long ‘challenge,’ which took place on June 25 & 26.
“The numbers were very pleasing this year,” said Eric Davis, chairman for the Friends of Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. “In all, 184 people took part in the event, with 62 of those completing the challenge.”
To complete the lighthouse challenge, an individual was required to visit a total of seven lighthouses – a list that included Dyce Head, Fort Point, Grindle Point, Rockland Breakwater, Owls Head, Marshall Point and Pemaquid Point, as well as the Maine Lighthouse Museum.
The 2011 Midcoast Maine Lighthouse Challenge also offered bonus challenge sites such as the Penobscot Marine Museum, a U.S. Coast Guard aids to navigation exhibit at Rockland Breakwater Light and an opportunity to take part in a sunset cruise.
This year’s memento was a set of attractive bookmarks that each depicted one of the participating lighthouses, museums and the Coast Guard exhibit. Visitors collected the bookmarks one-by-one at each site, and had the opportunity to have their commemorative event booklets stamped with the likeness of each lighthouse at the same time.
In addition, those participants who completed the lighthouse challenge were provided a chance to win a two-night stay at one of the Historic Inns of Rockland, which was graciously donated by the Historic Inns of Rockland. This year’s prize winner was Harriet Field of Ocean View, New Jersey.
Though the event is always effective at attracting visitors from many states around the country, this year’s lighthouse challenge also drew Mainers to the lights in numbers like never before. Over one-third of the people who took part in the event resided in the Pine Tree State, which delighted the Friends of Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation.
“It was wonderful to see so many Maine residents take part in the lighthouse challenge,” said Eric Davis. “We hope that this event helps share Maine’s proud lighthouse heritage, as well as the charm of our coastal communities, with those who live, work and play here – but do not always have the time to explore the treasures in their own ‘backyard.’”
Davis concluded, “The success of the 2011 Midcoast Maine Lighthouse Challenge was great, but it would not have been possible without the many volunteers and business sponsors that helped make the event possible with their time, talent and generous financial support. Together our volunteers and business sponsors, along with the participating lighthouse and maritime organizations, proved to be a ‘winning’ combination in a team effort to showcase a slice of Maine’s one-of-a-kind coastal beauty.”