The Keating family of Wilton, for the second year in a row, has an entry in the Maritime Aquarium’s Festival of Lighthouses, on display daily through Jan. 21. Visitors to the aquarium may vote for their favorite, and the winner will be awarded $1,500.
As many as 22 lighthouses are on display, and according to the aquarium.
The Keatings’ entry is called “Mystery Point Lighthouse.” The tall black-and-white lighthouse is surrounded by mermaids and fairies, and there’s a boat rocking in a deep blue sea. The setting is nighttime with a crescent moon and twinkling colored stars.
Last year, the Keatings entered “Mermaid Hollow,” a traditional white lighthouse with a bright beacon atop a rocky shore.
“They’re beautiful. They’re funny. They’re clever. They’re intricate. They’re exquisite,” said Chris Loynd, the aquarium’s marketing director, of this year’s lighthouses. “Every year, we’re blown away by the time and effort people put into designing and building these lighthouses, which add tremendous value to our visitors’ experience through the holidays.”
Rules are kept to a minimum to allow for maximum creativity. Lighthouses must be three to six feet tall and have a working light, and may not include animal remains (such as shells). Beyond that, it’s up to the creators’ imaginations.
Two lighthouses are modeled after real lights — the famous West Quoddy Head Light in Lubec, Maine, and the historic light in Sandy Hook, N.J.
A distinctly modern lighthouse was entered by Nick Parker of Ridgefield, also a veteran of the festival. His entry this year is called “Lifehouse,” a traditionally shaped red-and-white lighthouse that has three windows showing cartoon images of his two daughters plus interactive computer animation of a cartoon dog named Charlie. Visitors can ask the dog to sit, bark and answer questions.
Other entries include a lighthouse covered in crocheted yarn and a lighthouse that humorously represents the 12 days of Christmas. There are lighthouses made of intricately cut pieces of stone, of stained glass, of punched tin, and of tiny cups of diner coffee creamer.
Winners will be announced at an evening reception on Jan. 25.
Information: 203-852-0700 or maritimeaquarium.org.