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Lighthouse Festival History

In the summer of 1993, at the cottage of Rudy and Jenny Herman of Port Austin, Michigan, there was a get together between Middle Island Lighthouse Keepers Association (M.I.L.K.A.) and Port Austin Reef Lighthouse members. The topic of sharing ideas, thoughts, materials, programs, etc. and the importance of working together to accomplish more was discussed… and thus, the seed was planted.

In August of 1994, at the M.I.L.K.A. Conference and Picnic (Alpena, MI), the topic of lighthouse groups working together was again brought up and discussed by Kevin Mill, Lynn Marvin, Marv and Joy Theut. Plans for the first Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival began. It was determined that in order to attract affiliated groups and the general public, the festival had to be; education, entertaining, exciting, fund-raising and to be shared, in work and proceeds, with other participating non-profit Lighthouse and Life-Saving Associations around the Great Lakes.

In 1995, the Huron Lights filed with the State of Michigan, a DBA as the Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival with loans of $1500 and $500 from two private individuals. A Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival bank account was opened and the programs for the festival began in earnest.

We owe a particular debt of gratitude to members of the Port Austin Reef Lighthouse Association, Save our South Channel Lights Association, Middle Island Lighthouse Keepers Association and the New Presque Isle Lighthouse Historical Society for their encouragement and support.


The “Lighthouses of the Great Lakes” are a magnificent collection of history and should be restored, preserved and maintained for all generations to enjoy. Pictures alone can not do these superb structures justice. Over the years, technology has replaced manual tasks with automated systems. With modern navigational systems, such as the Loren-C and the G.P.S. (Global Positioning Systems), the need for lighthouses are now minimal. Ship masters, as well as recreational boaters, can now access these navigational systems to plot their course with the precision of NASA’s space programs. The U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Transportation and/or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to excess, grant out, lease out and/or by a direct legislative transfer or lighthouses throughout the United States.

Our Mission & Motto

To promote the Historic Lighthouses and Life-Saving Stations of the Great Lakes through educating the public of the Restoration, Preservation, History and Life of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Stations.

Associations, Businesses and Individuals working together for the restoration, preservation, history and life of the Great Lakes Lighthouses.

Making October Lighthouse Awareness Month

The Township of Alpena proclaims October as Lighthouse Awareness Month, October 5, 1998

Alpena County proclaims October as Lighthouse Awareness Month September 24, 1996

State Of Michigan proclaims October as Lighthouse Awareness Month September 15, 1998

…Help us bring this awareness to a NATIONAL LEVEL!

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