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Shelton Residents Create Lighthouse Masterpieces For Aquarium Contest

“Pecks Ledge Lighthouse” by Charles Kestler of Shelton Photo Credit: Maritime Aquarium
“Candy Island Lighthouse” by Deborah Sacoto of Shelton Photo Credit: Maritime Aquarium

SHELTON, Conn. -- Two creative lighthouses handcrafted in Shelton are vying for the $1,500 grand prize in The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s 14th annual “Festival of Lighthouses Contest.”

“Pecks Ledge Lighthouse” made by Charlie Kestler and “Candy Island Lighthouse” crafted by Deborah Sacoto are among the 22 creative handmade entries in the holiday display.

Kestler is a regular in the Aquarium contest. His entry this year, built with help from his 94-year-old neighbor, Roy Glober, is a scale model of Pecks Ledge Lighthouse, a light in Long Island Sound near the Norwalk-Westport border. The sparkplug-style lighthouse has three deck/railing levels, a Christmas tree glowing on the lower level and is timed to light on the same interval as the real Pecks Ledge Lighthouse.

This is Sacoto’s second year in the contest. Her “Candy Island Lighthouse” is a white tube-shaped lighthouse festooned and striped with various kinds and colors of candy, including peppermints, Smarties, gumdrops, jelly beans, licorice and more. It’s set on a sandy island with a stone fortress at the lighthouse base.

“We’re as excited as anyone to see and display this year’s entries,” said Thomas Frankie, the Aquarium’s exhibits director. “We’re always amazed and honored by the thought, design and effort that our contestants put into these lighthouses, which add a festive glow to the Aquarium throughout the holidays.”

The lighthouses will be on display daily through Monday, Jan. 18, in the popular Connecticut family attraction. The Maritime Aquarium visitors follow the homemade beacons through the galleries and cast a vote for their favorite. The lighthouse that gets the most votes wins $1,500.

Other prizes include $750 for second place, $375 for third, $300 for fourth, $225 for fifth and $150 for sixth. Winners will be announced at an evening reception Thursday, Jan. 21.

The 2015 “Festival of Lighthouses Contest” is free with Maritime Aquarium general admission, which is $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for youths (13-17) and seniors 65 and over and $12.95 for children ages 3-12.

For more details about Maritime Aquarium exhibits, IMAX movies and programs, click here or call 203-852-0700.

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