NORWALK, Conn. – A Bridgeport couple is vying for a $1,500 grand prize in the 15th annual “Festival of Lighthouses Contest” at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.
“Sea Light” by Cecile and Ron Lobo is one of 13 large handcrafted beacons in the aquarium’s holiday display, which opened on Nov. 19 and will remain in place through Jan. 16.
Aquarium guests who visit the display through Jan 16 will have the chance to cast a ballot, voting for their favorite contest entries. The contest participants whose lighthouse gets the most votes will be awarded $1,500. Three runners-up will also win cash prizes of $750, $300 and $150, according to contest organizers.
A separate vote on Facebook will determine another first place lighthouse whose designers will take home a $500 prize.
According to organizers, this year’s lighthouses come from a variety of participants, including two that were completed as exercises by clients in special-needs centers. Some are modeled on actual lighthouses while others are “wildly whimsical.”
“As always, there will be disagreements over which lighthouse is the best, but there’s no debate that the lighthouses add a fun, creative, festive feel to the Aquarium through the holidays that is greatly appreciated,” said Thomas Frankie, the Aquarium’s exhibits manager.
Rules for the contest are few, according to organizers, who said that the goal is for the entries to be crafted with maximum creativity. Essentially, all that is required is that the lighthouses stand between 3-6 feet tall and have a working light. They may not include animal remains such as shells or bones and may not include food items.
According to organizers, this is the eighth year the Lobos have entered the contest; they have two grand prizes to their name.
Their entry this year, “Sea Light,” “suggests an underwater kelp forest with green and purple fronds extending up seven aqua-colored tubes,” according to organizers, who said the couple’s design also features slits matching kelp movement that are cut into tubes that glow from within with changing colors of light.
Contestants in this year’s contest hail from local cities like Norwalk and Darien and others that are further away, like Bethel, Danbury and Shelton. New Yorkers from Hartsdale, Yonkers and Pine Bush also got in on the act, according to organizers.
Winners of this year’s contest are to be announced during an evening reception on Jan. 19.
For more details about Maritime Aquarium exhibits, IMAX movies and special events this holiday season, call (203) 852-0700 or visit the Aquarium's website .
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.